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BEDC targets 90,000 meters, delivers 22,000 to electricity consumers

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Prepaid meters. PHOTO: Amos Kobor

The Benin Electricity Distribution Company Plc (BEDC) has installed over 25 per cent of the 90,870 meters targeted for electricity consumers under the first phase of the National Mass Metering Programme (NNMP) to be completed within three months.

The company disclosed this in a communiqué issued after a Town Hall meeting tagged: Facilitating Metering And Combating Electricity Theft In BEDC States, organised by the Stakeholders Democracy Network (SDN) in Benin City, Edo State.

It disclosed that BEDC planned to eliminate estimated billing for unmetered customers in Delta, Edo, Ekiti and Ondo within six months as part of the NNMP.

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“BEDC is now installing meters for customers in bands A, B and C, as the initial focus to check energy theft and meter bypass, while the company has also began community metering where transformers of over 600 communities have been metered so far,” the communiqué reads.

While noting growing joint efforts by communities in combating electricity theft in the BEDC coverage areas, the communiqué added that metering under NNMP was free and as such, customers do not have to pay.

It warned that BEDC and industry stakeholders could sue and be sued on account of electricity theft and violation of consumer rights.

“The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) is carrying out electricity consumer education and interfacing between customers and Discos for complaints resolution,” the communiqué added.

It listed the challenges being confronted by BEDC during the NNMP installation process to include meter tampering, rejection of meters, aggressive and violent customer behaviour and extortion of some consumers by some unscrupulous agents for procurement and installation of meters.

The communiqué noted BEDC’s assurances to customers that corrupt members of staff would be punished and urged that when agents approach electricity customers for extortion, they should use the company’s whistle blowing channels to report such actions and electricity theft.

It also assured stakeholders that it would promptly investigate allegations of customer extortion over meter installation and procurement.

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