06 January 2015, Benin – The Benin Electricity Distribution has told stakeholders that convened at the instance of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on the Credited Advanced Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI) in Benin, Edo State that it had installed a total of 36,000 pre-payment meters within the past one year.
The Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, represented by the Commissioner in charge of Engineering, Standards and Safety at the commission, Mrs. Mary Awolokun informed the gathering at the recent event that the commission was conducting a nationwide tour of all distribution companies to meet directly with the customers and get their feedback as regards the CAPMI implementation in all the Discos.
She told customers gathered at the stakeholders’ forum that the commission was making all efforts possible to see that meters are made available to customers under the advanced payments scheme within the statutory 45 days allowed by the commission for all Discos to do so.
According to Awolokun, the commission would soon commence sanctioning distribution companies that fail to supply meters to their customers within the 45 days’ time frame.
BEDC in its presentation delivered by the Executive Director, Commercial, Mr. Abu Ismail-Ejoor, said metering of customers was key to the operations of the company owing to the enviable record it has as a shining star in pre-payment meter deployment among all other Discos.
He said within the last one year, not less than 36,000 pre-payment meters representing an average of 3,000 per month had been installed across the company which he said was a significant step in bridging the metering gap and also eliminating estimated billing from its billing platform.
Ismail-Ejoor said though the company was eager to increase its installation capacity to see that more meters are installed within the statutory 45 days’ time frame, it had however been hampered by customers that filled untraceable home addresses while making their meter applications which makes metering such customers very difficult.
He told the stakeholders that within the first quarter of 2015, BEDC intends to migrate all its customers on the pre-payment meters to online real time vending system, which would allow its customers to purchase electricity tokens round the clock.
Commenting on the outcome of the evidence-based assessment of the operational performance of the 11 electricity distribution companies by NERC, Amadi however, said at a recent interview in Abuja that the result of the exercise had shown that the claims of incremental improvements made by some of the leading electricity distribution companies in their respective coverage zones were false.
According to him, contrary to general expectations, some of the distribution companies that had performed creditably well before they were privatised by the government late in 2013, were found to have done badly in their respective responsibilities to the new electricity market.
The distribution companies were assessed on their level of compliance to statutory revenue remittance to the market, response to consumer issues, investments in expansion of network facilities and provision of metering facilities to consumer to reduce extant loss levels and ensure transparency in market transactions.
Amadi noted that against expectations, distribution companies such as Yola and Enugu distribution companies that were initially adjudged to be letdowns following their poor showings before the privatisation, have suddenly made good showings in most of the key performance indicators that they were assessed on.
“If you look at metering now, Ibadan is doing well but Benin claims to be the best but our evidence does not support that claim. Eko has tried, Ikeja has surprisingly fallen short of standard, before now, it used to do well but the new guys there are not doing well in terms of dealing with consumers and market settlement and so there are mixed grill of discos performances,” Amadi said.