The Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company has inaugurated the Credited Advanced Payment for Metering Implementation scheme aimed at making prepaid meters available to the over 600,000 customers under its jurisdiction.
The company has also partnered with six indigenous prepaid meter manufacturing companies for an effective meter procurement and installation.
The implication of this, according to the Chief Executive Officer, Ikeja DISCO, Mr. Abiodun Ajifowobaje, is that estimated billing will be reduced.
He said the scheme was necessary to urgently address complaints by consumers about estimated billing and other components of service delivery by the company.
According to him, consumers can, under the scheme, apply and pay for meters, which will be installed within 48 hours and get their money reimbursed over a period of time as a means of discount on their electricity consumption.
Ajifowobaje said the scheme had not overridden the Multi Year Tariff Order introduced in June 2012.
The MYTO scheme provides that no one pays for the meter as it is supplied free to consumers and paid for as tariff on monthly basis.
The PHCN boss explained that due to lack of funds to procure enough meters from manufacturers at the moment, CAPMI would encourage consumers to get it by paying at first and getting refunded over a period of time.
He said the zone agreed to partner with the indigenous firms after many months of consultation with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and other relevant stakeholders in the power sector.
According to him, the CAPMI scheme is optional and is designed as an alternative for consumers who are willing to advance money to their distribution companies for speedy installation of prepaid meters.
He said, “Customers are then refunded for the cost of the meter by way of monthly reduction on the fixed charge elements on their electricity bills over time.
“The scheme is meant for customers to pay up-front for the purchase of the meter. The cost of the meter will be refunded to the customers through a billing process spread across three years with 12 per cent interest.
“The amount to be paid will be publicised after discussing with the manufacturers, but I believe it will be within the range of N25,000 for a single phase prepaid meter and N35,000 for a three-phase meter.”
The six local meter manufacturers that have partnered with the Ikeja Disco are MOMAS System Nigeria Ltd, MOJEC Group of Companies, Chemo-technics Ltd, MBH Power Ltd, Unistar Hi-tech System Ltd and First Global Excel Resources.
The Managing Director, MOMAS System Ltd, Mr. Kola Balogun, said the smart metering would allow electricity consumers to manage their consumption and the amount to be paid.
“With smart metering, you can manage your electricity consumption and know exactly what your bill should be. It also affords you the opportunity to load your meter with your phone or the Internet without going to any of the PHCN offices.
“CAPMI has come to stay, we will make it work and it is a way to relieve consumers from the constant ‘crazy bills’ and estimated billing, but as a manufacturing company, our aim is to key into the policy of the scheme.