23 December 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) says it will install free modern prepaid meters to over 500,000 customers under its jurisdiction in the next three years.
AEDC Managing Director, Mr Ernest Mupwaya, disclosed this at a ceremony to begin the installation of the free meters in Abuja on Thursday.
He said the exercise would immediately and simultaneously begin with customers that were enumerated.
“This is just a ceremony to symbolise the start of mass metering; it means that we have now simultaneously started the mass metering of our customers in our catchment areas.”
According to him, the exercise is designed to last for three years and at no cost to its customers, adding that over 150 million dollars would be expended on the metering project.
He said AEDC had also installed over 5,000 meters to its customers in Niger as a pilot scheme to the free metering project.
The meters, which comprised three face, single face and maximum demand meters, would only be installed in areas that had been enumerated by AEDC, noting that enumeration was on-going.
He said the deployment of the meters would add value the value to the customers, as there were several advantages derivable from using the meter.
“It puts the power in the hands of the customers to regulate the usage according to the way they can afford to pay for the unit.
“Secondly, they will be able to budget; thirdly, it will bring convenience in paying because they don’t need to come and queue to pay for energy. They can just access the nearby vending machine or use their cell phone to purchase power.”
He said the installation of the meters would also enhance transparency on the part of the consumers, noting that the issue of short-changing the customers would be eliminated.
Mupwaya said part of the meters being deployed were sourced from an indigenous company, “MOJEC`, noting that due diligence on the capacity of the company was carried out before going into partnership with it.
He also said the company would complement the supply from the company with external supplies, given the huge number of its customers to be metered.
Chairman of the AEDC, Amb. Shehu Malami said the project was a milestone achieved by AEDC.
He said metering of customers would stop the issue of estimated billing and pressures mounted by customers to get them metered.
According to him, with metering, customers will now pay for what they consume.
Malami said that the intention of AEDC was to continue with the metering as mandated by the Federal Government to distribution companies.
The Minster of Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Muhammad Bello, said that the beginning of the project was in fulfilment of the road map initiated by the new AEDC management.
Bello said the FCT Administration had set up a joint reconciliation committee, comprising the FCT and AEDC officials to resolve the issue of estimated billing for institutions in the FCT.
“In terms of consumption, we felt it was subjective to pay bills on estimated structure. We did a lot of reconciliation, and I recalled that we made a one point payment of over N500 million to the company as a mark of goodwill before we finished reconciliation,” he stated.
He expressed joy that many of the institutions in the FCT administration had been captured on the maximum demand meter.
“And I do hope as we flag off this one that everybody in the FCT will be captured and metered; that is a very big milestone and we will continue to support you because the project is laudable,” Bello said.
He also called on AEDC to always make electricity available to FCT residents, noting that the non-availability could encourage institutions and residents to look for off-grid alternatives.
“No matter what it takes, try to provide electricity for the FCT residents.”
He appealed to FCT residents to always protect electricity equipment and other government facilities, warning that anyone caught vandalising them would be prosecuted.