The Eko Electricity Distribution Company, EKEDC, has blamed the delay in the rolling out of prepaid meters to consumers on the fear of bye-pass of its meters.
The company’s Vice President, Legal, Mrs. Wola Ojoye, who spoke during a courtesy visit by members of the Consumer Rights Advancement Organisation, CRADO, led by Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, at the EKEDC corporate headquarters in Marina, Lagos, said that bye-passing of payment for electricity consumed was evident mostly with prepaid meters.
She said this fear has been responsible for the company’s inability to distribute the 9,000 prepaid meters it inherited from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, when it took over on November 1, 2013, adding that these meters go into negative after consumption of electricity already paid for by the consumers.
She said the company was prepared to partner with manufacturers of best quality prepaid meters that would not be bye-passed by its consumers, stressing that whether such meters were locally made or imported was not the issue.
Ojoye said EKEDC has a plan to roll out meters in the country next January, noting that the plan has already been forwarded to the electricity sector regulators, the National Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, in Abuja for their approval.
She said the company met big problems when it took over, stressing that what EKEDC met was not what it was told.
Asked whether EKEDC did not avail itself of the due diligence which all the DISCOs were given opportunities to undertake, she said their officials were prevented from doing so by the electricity workers union. She said the union leaders refused to allow them to access facilities of the defunct PHCN.
While stressing that the company was not interested in forwarding estimated bills to its consumers, Ojoye said it was automating the billing process because estimated billing was not profitable to the company.
The managing director of Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Oladele Amoda, had a couple of weeks ago said the company had concluded plans to roll out a total of 360,000 electricity meters to customers under the distribution network of the company.
According to the Eko Disco boss, N1.3 billion would be expended on the project by the company. The first phase of the project, he disclosed, would start with about 5,000 meters for all high voltage or maximum demand customers of the company who, he said, were responsible for about 70 percent of the company’s revenue profile.
He further said under the scheme, apart from those not having meters at all, all customers having obsolete and malfunctioning meters would also have their meters replaced.
Earlier on in his post-privatisation update report to the committee, he had disclosed that the company had embarked on a number of measures poised to engender a total turn-around in the company’s services to its customers. These, he said, included the embedded generation project, evolvement of a new human resource policy with emphasis on workers’ safety, training and improvement of general working condition.