The Managing Director, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), Dr Ernest Mupwaya, has said that the company will be installing over 101,000 free meters within its network at a cost of N6 billion without charging customers between now and December 2021.
The rest of the meters, according to him, will be installed 18 months after, through a comprehensive role out program that will result in simultaneous installations in all three states of Niger, Kogi and Nassarawa in addition to FCT.
Speaking during the flag off national free mass metering program In Abuja on Tuesday, Mupwaya also disclosed that AEDC will receive a total of 900,000 meters, at the cost of N23 billion under the 6 million Federal Government’s scheme, which, according to him, will be sufficient to meter all customers including replacement of defective meters.
He explained that the Federal Government with 40 per cent shareholding in the discos, have sourced sufficient funding to support discos through a low interest shareholder loan that will make it possible for Discos to receive sufficient meters to close the metering gap for good.
“Over the years, the company has embarked on various metering initiatives such as CAPMI and MAP. These programs have achieved some successes that resulted metering of over 300,000 customers. The metering of customers has a huge positive implication not only to the electricity industry but to the entire economy in a number of ways. Firstly, massive metering will create jobs through installation and inspections of meters after installations. Secondly, other jobs will be created in meter manufacturing, logistics and supply chains associated with making meters available in Nigeria. Thirdly, massive metering will improve the transparency in electricity transaction which will result in increased revenues that can be channeled into service improvement. Improved Services will support improved economic activities that will impact both informal and formal sectors. This will lead to electricity industry transformation along with numerous spillover effects to the economy”, he stated.
He however, appeal to customers to accept the meters and resist any attempt by unscrupulous people who may approach them, with an offer to compromise the meters.
“The regulator NERC has put in place punitive penalties for those caught bypassing the meter to the extent that the fines override the perceived benefit apart from damaging the good working relationship with the discos.
“Energy theft also diverts resources which are meant to improve the service being provided. We believe that we can work together in ensuring that the metering challenge is brought to permanent end as we face a new dawn. However I want to acknowledge that the majority of our customers are law abiding citizens and they have been supporting us through the difficulties associated with transactions through estimated billing.”