Published On: Mon, Jul 17th, 2017

FG orders DISCOs to distribute 3m hoarded prepaid metres

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The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN

By Ese Awhotu with agency report

The Federal Government has ordered Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to distribute three million pre-paid metres to electricity consumers.
Babatunde Fashola, who is the Minister of Works and Housing, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the government had in 2003 awarded contract for the meters but they were not supplied.
“In 2003, the government awarded a contract for three million meters but they were not supplied.
“I inherited it, they were in court and I am trying to take it out of the court so that we can settle and start the supply,’’ he said.
According to the minister, more than three million pre-payment meters are to be rolled out under the Federal Government’s intervention programme.
He said that, the intervention followed the incapacity of Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to meter all the houses of consumers across the country.
He said that metering houses in the country was facing some challenges as there was no accurate database of actual consumers in the country.
His words: “There is a database of six million households; it is a faulty base because we have more than six million households in the country.
“There are four types of consumers – R1 (poorest consumer), R2, R3 and maximum demand consumers — and they are not on the same plan.
“DISCOs need to go into these houses, do an audit to determine the type of meters to install.
“If you have a wrong meter, you will pay wrong price or bill. A meter is both a safety device and a measuring device; it can under read or over read or cause fire if not properly installed.
“But essentially, the DISCOs must provide meters, it is only fair and let the consumer manage his consumption and billing system because he has a meter.’’
On the challenges facing the nation’s power sector, NAN reports that, Fashola described the problems as man-made, identified planning, way of life and human behavioural problem as some of the intractable issues.
Others are power wastage, building of houses in difficult terrain without approval, lack of conservation culture and energy theft.
NAN also reports that electricity consumers pay N25,000 (official), N35, 000 (fast-track) for a single-phase meter, while the three-phase models go for N50,000 and above.
Consumers have complained of down payment for several months or a year for the meters without being supplied by DISCOs which has exposed consumers to the user-unfriendly estimated billing system or “crazy’’ bills.
Recall that several organizations including ocio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) had called on Fashola to order DISCOs to provide pre-paid meters to Nigerians or face legal action.
SERAP had asked Fashola to “take this step within 7 days, saying that it was the responsibility of this government to give pre-paid metres to Nigerians.
SERAP noted that in several parts of the country, consumers pay more for electricity than in other parts of the world.

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