The Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IkejaElectric) says it is not currently metering customers due to the exhaustion of prepaid meters assigned to the company by the Nigerian government under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).
Felix Ofulue, the spokesperson of the DisCo, said this on Friday while addressing the press in Lagos.
Mr Ofulue said the company received about 106,000 meters in the NMMP and has since distributed it to customers.
“We have practically done 99.9% of the meters, we have exhausted the meters completely. People are not getting meter now because we don’t have any on ground,” he said.
The Nigerian government in 2020 approved the NMMP to cater for the shortfall in the metering of electricity consumers in Nigeria.
The objective of the programme is to end estimated billing by the DisCos and attract private investment in the provision of metering services.
The government sought to roll out six million meters in two years. It, however, rolled out one million meters in phase zero of the programme.
Speaking on the metering of customers, Mr Ofulue said the one million metres were shared among the 10 discos and Ikeja Electric allocated over 106,000 meters.
Explaining the criteria for distribution, he said the company focused on customers who were impacted by the recent increase in electricity tariff, the Bands A, B, and C.
“Bands D and E are not affected by the new tarrif and have no extra payment. But Bands A, B, and C were metered so that they manage what they use,” he said.
With the exhaustion of the allocated meters, Mr Ofulue said the DisCo is waiting for the next phase of metering to distribute meters to more customers.
“About 50 percent of customers in the network have been metered. Over 400,000 households have been metered,” he said.
This figure is out of over one million households captured in the database of the DisCo.
On who bears the responsibility for stolen or damaged electricity infrastructure, Mr Ofulue said the company takes care of it but that many customers are impatient and end up replacing the equipment themselves.
“The provision of electrical infrastructure is the responsibility of the discos; transformers, lines, cables, and co,” he said.
“Whenever you see otherwise happening, it means the community is tired of waiting maybe because the disco is not active and they want to engage in self-help.”
The official, however, clarified that communities in which thefts of electrical infrastructure happen often would not receive frequent attention from the disco because “it makes no business sense.”
“If we keep spending money on an area and things keep getting stolen, it means there is a sabotage happening. It is simple business logic and it is a critical topic we have with community leaders for them to secure electricity infrastructure in their areas.
“We are trying to beautify and make our transformers look decent. It is when it is dark, dingy and messed up and people will go there to vandalise,” he said.
Also speaking on outstanding debt owed to the company by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Mr Ofulue said it was a perennial issue and not the federal government that is directly owing the company.
“Federal Government is the bulk majority shareholder of all the discos, they own 40 percent of all the discos, so how can you say your owner is owing you?
“The issue of debt is perennial and for certain reasons, the company was appealing to the Senate because they are on the level where they lobby the government,” Mr Ofulue said.
He added that deliberations and meetings are ongoing to ensure the recovery of the debt owed to the company.
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