15 April 2013, Lagos – From April 25 electricity consumers may pay between N25,000 and N50,000 for pre-paid metres for the single phase and three phase models, respectively, under the new Credited Advance Pay for Metering Implementation, CAPMI, scheme.
The price tag is aimed at fast tracking the deployment of pre-paid metres to customers across the country sequel to the failed free metre scheme initially proposed by the Federal Government.
CAPMI became necessary following complaints by consumers about poor electricity service delivery in the face of continued estimated billing by Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.
Under the new CAPMI arrangement, metres are still regarded as free, but are facilitated through advance payments, which are expected to be refunded through a rebate on a fixed charge element from customers’ bills.
Confirming the development, Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, in a telephone chat said the single phase pre-paid metres would be sold for N25,000, while three phase metres would go for N50,000, adding that final arrangement and announcement will be made on April 25, when CAPMI would be rolled out fully.
However, it appears that nothing really has changed as the new prices for the pre-paid metres are similar to what electricity consumers paid prior to June 1, 2012, when government declared the metres free.
Under CAPMI, the Commission also disclosed that five Distribution Companies, DISCOs, would be used for the pilot scheme. They include Eko, Ibadan, Benin, Kano and Abuja DISCOs.
Amadi explained that the Commission was currently evaluating tenders submitted by bidders, adding that the call for tenders had closed, while details of shortlisted vendors had been sent to the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, for ratification and eventual approval.
He said: “We are currently evaluating the bids submitted by various vendors. We don’t have a specific number of vendors to use but the preferred bidders will be announced.
“Nigerians should be patient with us as we are working hard to come out with a hitch-free programme. The payment process is also being looked into to ensure that things are transparent.”
Apapa Business Unit of PHCN, has appealed to customers in its network to pay up their debts which had risen to N2 billion.
*Kunle Kalejaye, Vanguard.