Recall that the Minister of Power Prof. Chinedu Nebo at a town hall meeting early in January announced an approved funding for one million prepaid meters to be distributed to consumers through the distribution companies (Discos) to curtail the ravaging effects of estimated billing. “This same president is going to launch very shortly and has provided the funding to give over 1million meters to Nigerians to reduce the gap and then allow the Discos to face a time where they will make sure that all Nigerians are eventually metered,” Nebo had said.The minister had said that “Mechanisms still have to be developed on how to distribute these meters to distribution companies because they are the ones to deliver them to homes and install them.”But three months after the declaration, estimated billing, a system that many consumers say exploits them, is still in place with some Discos yet to implement their consumers’ metering scheme.Speaking with Daily Trust, many electricity consumers in Kurudu, Wuse and Bwari in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) poured out myriads of complaints on how the recent bills readjustment by Discos is further worsening issues.Yakubu Mallam who resides in Nyanya suburb, some 15 kilometers from Abuja city centre, said “My bills for January and February have risen by 50 percent since this year. What used to be around N4,000 for a residential customer is now N8,000 for me, and the supply is not commensurate.”Another customer in Mararaba Business Unit of Nasarawa State, still under the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), Mr Yohanna Musa, said although his bill has risen significantly by N1,500 in the last two months, he has been enjoying at least nine hours daily power supply since the installation of a new transformer in the area.Yohanna however said the increment can only be justified if there are installed prepaid meters to measure what is consumed, adding that “in that way, we would be able to justify this upward increment.”The greatest fear of consumers is that following the readjustment as acclaimed by Abuja Disco, what will befall them when the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) lifts the embargo on increased tariff for residential consumers by June?”Bar. Moses Gbila, a resident of Jikwoyi suburb in the FCT, said “That is why we need prepaid meters so that we can regulate consumption and pay justifiably. It is unfair for now and would be worse when NERC tells them to increase our bills by June.”Reacting on metering implementation, an official of Abuja Disco said it is procuring meters with its plan to roll out 100,000 this year. He dismissed the claim that meter cost has risen for now, saying it is NERC that should review meter cost for implementation in the face of rising value of dollars.In an official response on the metering intervention by the federal government, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Dr. Godknows Igali, told Daily Trust that “We are just concluding the due process for procurement.”He dismissed the notion that the one millions meters would have to be imported saying, “but meters don’t need to “come in’ as most of them are already in the country; manufactured here or in warehouses already.”Dr. Igali also confirmed that the metering intervention was part of President Jonathan’s effort to “put to rest commitments made during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration but which were not implemented and became the object of festering litigations.”He said the issue of metering and the plights of electricity consumers’ overbilling will be addressed shortly, adding that “meters will be distributed very soon as the due process is almost completed.”An expert in the sector and electricity consumers’ advocate, Mr. Kunle Olubiyo said with government still servicing its own shares of 40percent stake in the 11 privatised Discos, it will stop at nothing to provide the meters and curb estimated billing which in itself encourages revenue loss as many people bypass electricity sources through illegal tapping. Also reacting to governments plan of sourcing meters locally, Daily Trust gathered that NERC approved 138 companies in 2014 to provide metering services. One of the indigenous meter manufacturers, Mojec International Ltd, said it has a factory in Lagos and has an approval as meter importer, vendor and corporate installer. Chairperson of the company, Mojisola Abdul, said they are ready to enter into contract on providing safe and certified meters for the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). She said, “We have a factory and we are producing. If the Discos are ready to buy, and if the federal government is ready to buy, we are ready to sell to them. There is availability of meters on ground; we have about 100,000 meters on ground and we can produce 1.1million a year.”Mojec said it is expecting orders from the federal government on supplying part of the one million meters it plans to distribute to electricity consumers shortly.“We were told and we are expecting the order. We are making efforts towards pushing for this; we have contacted the Permanent Secretary who has visited our factory and he saw us working and he was delighted,” Abdul said.
If you are happy to be contacted by a Daily Trust journalist please leave a telephone
number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will
be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state
otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures,
video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others,
take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the
terms and conditions.