By Etuka Sunday
…As customers ask NERC to review payment system
The Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDC) has vowed to roll out 80,000 pre-paid meters annually for the next five years.
The Managing Director, Haruna Garuba made the disclosure during the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) public consultation on electricity metering “The Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation ( CAPMI)” in Kaduna.
His words: “We have a planned to roll out about 80,000 meters every year. In Kaduna, the customer base is about 480,000 which we believe could be more than that. So in our plan, we know more houses are being built and more customers are coming up. That is why we have the plan to bridge the gap.”
He said that under the CAPMI it is expected that customers should willingly make advance payment for pre-paid meter which the electricity distribution company’s is obliged to install for them within 45 days of provision of notice of payment by the customer.
It would be recalled that a private investor took over the management of the company about two weeks ago.
But Garuba explained that the company will rehabilitate most of the equipment and invest in infrastructure in its electricity market that cuts across over a distance of 1,000Km in Kaduna, Zamfara, Kebbi and Sokoto State.
The NERC Commissioner of Government and Consumer Affairs, Dr. Abbah Ibrahim had earlier urged the distribution company to bridge the 60 per cent metering gap in the market.
He stressed that: “More that 50 per cent in some cases 60 percent of consumers are not metered and this led to a situation where customers are estimated.”
He also revealed that the commission has directed the DISCOs to publish their electricity load shedding plan as from next year.
Ibrahim said that “By next year all the Discos will publish and they will also announce on the television in their coverage area the time they are going to do their load shedding.”
In his presentation, the KEDC Head, Customer Service Market Mr. Sunday Yahaya said that the company which has commenced verification of customers has installed 8,601 meters under the CAPMI scheme.
He told the commission that the challenge in the provision of meters to the customers was the large area of coverage by the company and the distance from which the vendors transport the meters.
He added that the some of the customers hardly notify the company that they have paid for the meters.
Speaking, a customer who simply identified himself as Buba Umar from Kwaro complained that his community earns low income therefore NERC should review the method of CAPMI payment, which according to him was too much a burden for the customers.
He asked the commission to make room for part payment, noting that since the companies are private investors they should be prepared for long time investment.
Another customer, Sunday Olusegun complained that his electricity bill suddenly rose to N60,000 monthly in June this year.
He sought the company and commission’s explanation for the sudden change.