The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company is set to haul in N1.56Bn from its customers in three south east states, based on a controversial decision to phase out “standalone” meters and replace them with new “smart” devices.
This fact came to light in the Company’s statement released today, 9 January 2019, which confirmed that about 40,000 customers from three south east states are affected by the meter swap policy.
EEDC marketers have told customers that each metering device will be sold for about N39,000.
EEDC explained in the statement that its decision to institute a meter swap policy for customers using standalone meters was necessitated by a system upgrade and difficulty in providing support for the old card reader system.
“Consequently, EEDC could no longer provide support for the vending system that allows customers using the standalone meters to recharge their meters.” the organization said.
EEDC appears to give the impression that the meter contractor (MAP) is working for NERC and the federal government while, in fact, the regulator only provides oversight and approval (licencing) of equipment to be used and is not in the business of contracting services for Nigerian generation, transmission and distribution companies
EEDC shifted responsibility for the policy to the federal government and the regulator (NERC) which, it said, licensed a private company, Meter Asset Providers (MAP), to supply new smart meter devices to electricity consumers nationwide.
“Our apex regulatory body, NERC, has licensed Meter Asset Providers (MAP) to deploy meters to customers. EEDC has been actively engaged in promoting and facilitating this metering scheme designed and approved by NERC, which allow customers procure meters from the third-party meter providers at a cost,” the statement said.
With this explanation, EEDC appears to give the impression that the meter contractor (MAP) is working for NERC and the federal government while, in fact, the regulator only provides oversight and approval (licencing) of equipment to be used and is not in the business of contracting services for Nigerian generation, transmission and distribution companies.
The embattled Enugu Company says it has given each of the 40,000 customers a soft landing with an option to install the devices and pay it down within two years, in 24 monthly installments.
The Company also explained that electricity consumers in two of the five states – Abia and Ebonyi – have not been using the problematic standalone meters and are therefore not affected by the policy.
Of the 40,000 consumers that the organization said will be affected in the remaining states, Enugu consumers are in the majority (60%), Anambra consumers constitute 35 percent of the consumers, and Imo makes up the balance of five percent.
The company did not indicate any intention to budge in the implementation of the meter swap policy.
“Affected customers should continue to avail themselves of the opportunities presented by the process put in place by EEDC to ensure a seamless meter swap exercise,” the statement concluded.
These processes involve affected customers coming forward to apply for a new meter, and applying to be reverted to manual billing system while the original application for the new smart meter is being processed.