… meters 88,000 customers, targets 120,000 by Dec
By Etuka Sunday
Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) said it has a solid plan in place to aggressively meter all the customers within its franchise area to stop the crazy estimated billing system currently being used by the company.
The Managing Director, AEDC, Engr. Ernest Mupwaya who gave the hint yesterday at the opening of a two day workshop on energy theft for judges within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), said the company has installed 88,000 meters and would install 120,000 units by December 2017 to deal with the complaints on estimated billing.
Engr. Mupwaya said: “The issue slowing down metering is funding constraint in the electricity market but we have found a way around it. We have used the vendor financing system to acquire 120,000 meters and if they are deployed and protected from energy theft, we can gain more funding and meter more customers.”
The AEDC boss said, out of the 800,000 customer base, AEDC has also metered 3,800 who are the largest power users and constitutes 50 per cent of the revenue collection base, including the governments’ Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
He said, in order to ensure availability of more meters, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has proposed a re-introduction of the Credited Advanced Payment for Metering Initiative (CAPMI) where customers buy meters at designated shops around the 11 Distribution Companies (DisCos) and have them installed with refund.
Mupwaya condemn the constraints in getting a cost reflective tariff that will ensure power firms operate optimally said, “The wholesale (generation) tariff has increased by 100 per cent since privatisation, on the retail side, the increase is only 16 per cent so there is already a big deficit.”
He said while the DisCos seek cost reflective tariff to enable them make more investments including metering, customers would want to be meter first, before they would support any tariff increase.
He advised NERC to address the liquidity gap by computing the tariff shortfall into the DisCos’ assets so it could reflect in their balance sheet as projected revenue to be cleared through future tariff review when the electricity market stabilises.
This would enable lenders to see the DisCos account as positive and give more funding for investment requirement, Mupwaya noted.
Speaking on the company’s achievements, he said NERC ranked the DisCo as the best in the third quarter of 2016 after considering various parameters including governance and network improvement.
According to him, AEDC has continued to be among the first four best performing DisCos which is a giant leap from the seventh position it occupied before the privatisation in 2013.
He disclosed that AEDC has been the first and the highest remitter in the last two years while ensuring that it improves its networks by installing over 200 transformers across Kogi, Abuja, Nasarawa and Niger states.