At CITEC estate in Abuja, Wednesday, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola commissioned the second phase of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company’s (AEDC) mass metering project.
The project entails the deployment of 222,728 pre-paid meters within the coverage area of the AEDC.
The first phase of the project installed no fewer than 150,000 meters for its customers, the distribution company said.
In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, the Head, Corporate Communications, Oyebode Fadipe, said the 222,728 meters, for customers in the FCT, Kogi, Niger and Nasarawa States, are valued at about N10 billion.
He said the company’s aggressive deployment of meters was part of its determination to achieve 100 per cent metering of its customers to engender public confidence in its billing process as well as to complement the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme, initiated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to accelerate metering of electricity consumers across the country.
This phase of the project is in partnership with Meron Consortium, a group comprising meter manufacturers, financiers, installers and advisory services firms.
While giving her remarks, the representative of the minister, Briskilla Sapke, said aside metering, there is the need for the AEDC to engage consumers on the need to use electrical appliances that consume less energy.
“Also educate them on the fact that now that they are metered, there is no room for complaints that this is not what they consume but rather they should try to let them know that if the family is in the living room watching television, there is no need for ACs and appliances in the other room to be on,” she added.
When discussing Ministries Departments and Agency (MDA) debt to DISCOs, she said Mr Fashola convened a meeting on Tuesday to that effect.
“As a support to distribution companies I know that the issue of the MDA debt is a recurring decimal. Only yesterday, the minister convened a meeting with a security agent which is one of the areas where distribution companies find it difficult to collect money and we discussed with them on the need for metering and also payment.
“We are putting a mechanism in place to ensure that that would be a thing of the past and if Abuja DISCO will recall that we put in place a mechanism such that all payments, MDA payments, are centralised with federal ministry of Power, Works and housing. We are trying to include other MDA’S such that the issue of MDA debt will not be reflecting going forward,” she said.
She also advised against meter bye-pass and said there are channels of redress in case there are situations where the meters are “running very fast”.
She said “we don’t want customers to take matters into their hands by ways of bye-pass, please write to NERC.
“NEMSA is there to check the integrity of the meters and like I said if you are able to educate customers they would see that once they are able to control their consumption, their bills would go down.”
The chairman AEDC Board of Directors, Shehu Malami, while giving the opening address said shortage and lack of meters are at the root of the huge ATC&C losses DISCOs suffer as well as the source of frequent disagreements with consumers.
“A successfully executed metering programme will enhance both transparency in the bill of customers as well as energy accountability.
“The commitment of N10 billion for the provision of 222,728 pieces of meters alone by AEDC is therefore a bold move by the company that clearly debunks the claim that DisCos are benefiting from estimated billing,” he said.
He added that the project would last for five months after which all metering programs would go under the Meter Asset Provider policy put in place by NERC.
The Managing Director of AEDC, Ernest Mupwaya said there are so many benefits associated with metering for both the company meters its customers alike.
For the company, he said it would address the challenge of high losses as the level of loss recorded for areas without meters stood at up to 70 per cent.
He also added that in relation to the project, 6000 distribution transformers would also be metered.
The Group Managing Director of Meron Consortium, a partner of AEDC, Emmanuel Ndubuisi, assured AEDC management of timely delivery and installation of the meters in line with the terms of contract with the company.