Despite several claims by PHCN over the availability of prepaid metres, customers say they wait for so long, yet do not get the metres.
Some customers of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, on Tuesday lamented the non-availability of pre-paid meters resulting in high estimated billing.
The customers, in separate interviews in Lagos, condemned the delay by the PHCN in installing meters in several houses more than two years after payment.
The Chairman, Diamond Estate, Agege, Ibrahim Opeloyeru, said that consumers who needed pre-paid meters had waited for so long, adding that PHCN needs to expedite action on this.
He said PHCN’s excuse is that the meters are not available and costly to obtain.
Mr. Opeloyeru alleged that some officials of PHCN were deliberately hoarding the meters in order to continue placing customers on estimated bills.
He said that some residents of the estate waited for two years after payment before their pre-paid meters were installed.
Another customer, Florence Bassey, a banker, living in Ikorodu, said that she had paid for pre-paid meter a year ago, but has yet to get it installed.
Ms. Bassey said that her home had been receiving high bills.
She said in the last six months, there has been inexplicable bills, yet no regular electricity supply to prove that we used such an amount.
“We used to receive N2, 000 and N2, 500 bills before now, but for the past six months, it is now hovering between N7,000 to N8,000.
“We still pay the same amount when there is no regular light. This is unfair,” she said.
Ms. Bassey said that she lodged complaints with the PHCN officials who admitted there was a problem and advised her to get a pre-paid meter.
He said: “Thereafter, they asked me to bring N25, 000 for the pre-paid meter.
“I have been making inquiries; some people say you don’t have to pay for it, while others say the official amount for the meter is N10, 000.
“We don’t know which is true, but what I gathered is that the meters are not available.’’
An electronics dealer at Lawanson, Lagos, Amos Simon, said Nigerians have accepted the introduction of the pre-paid meters, yet still cannot access the metres despite various announcements by PHCN that the metres are available.
“Go house-to-house in Lagos and tell me where you will see the pre-paid meters. How many houses are using the pre-paid meters in the state?
The Chairman, Iponri Housing Estate, Francis Popoola, said that installation of pre-paid meters in Lagos is the only way to stop outrageous billing system in the estate
He said “we are told that pre-paid meters will be installed for those customers who have paid long ago but yet we have not seen the meters.
“Initially, the sum of N25, 000 in bank draft was what should be paid for the new meter but it is no longer the case, as payment has been put on hold,” Mr. Popoola said.
A business centre operator in Somolu, Bimbo Andrew, Lagos, said she has visited several PHCN offices to collect the new pre-paid meters but to no avail.
She said she had observed that PHCH was giving preference to private individuals than the commercial entities in distributing the metres.
Ms. Andrew, however, advised government to stipulate the amount to be paid for a pre-paid meter.
She said that many customers had been paying high charges due to the inability of the firm to install meters for customers.
“Most customers are willing to pay but the meters are not available for installation.
“I urge PHCN to come out specifically to state the amount to be paid for the meters, ‘’ she said.
Reacting to the non-availability of pre paid metres, Godwin Idemudia, the Assistant General Manager, Public Affairs, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, said the Zone had embarked on installation of the backlog of pre-paid meters for customers that paid before June 2012.
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