The Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company has partnered with six indigenous pre-paid meter manufacturing companies on effective meter procurement and installation to customers in order to bring the long era of crazy billing of consumers to an end.
Ikeja DISCO at the weekend zone launched the Credited Advanced Payment for Metering Implementation, CAPMI scheme in Lagos.
Addressing stakeholders at the launching of the scheme, Chief Executive Officer, Ikeja Disco, Mr. Abiodun Ajifowobaje, said the scheme was necessary to urgently address complaints by consumers about estimated billing and other components of service delivery by the company.
Ajifowobaje explained the scheme implied that consumers could apply and pay for meters, which will be installed within 48 hours and get their money reimbursed over a period of time as a means of discount on their electricity consumption.
He said the scheme had not overridden the Multi Year Tariff Order, MYTO introduced in June 2012. The MYTO scheme provides that no one pays for the meter as it is supplied free to consumers and paid for as tariff on monthly basis.
PHCN boss explained due to lack of funds to procure enough meters from manufacturers at the moment, CAPMI would enable consumers get it by paying at first and get refunded over a period of time.
He said that the zone agreed to partner with the indigenous firms after many months of consultation with the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, and other relevant stakeholders in the power sector.
Ajifowobaje said that the CAPMI Scheme is optional and was designed as an alternative for consumers who are willing to advance money to their distribution companies for speedy installations of prepaid meters.
“ Customers are then refunded for the cost of the meter by way of monthly reductions on the fixed charge elements on their electricity bills over time.
“The scheme is meant for customers to pay up-front for the purchase of the meter.
“The cost of the meter will be refunded to the customers through a billing process spread across for three years with 12 per cent interest.
He, however, said that customers will bear the cost of the accessories of the meter while vendors with registered account with DISCO will provide 24 hour installation service to the customers on the day of payment.
According him, “the amount to be paid will be publicise after discussing with the manufacturers, but l believe it will be within the range of N25,000 for single phase pre-paid meter and N35,000 for three phases meter.’’
One of the meter manufacturers, the Managing Director, MOMAS System Ltd., Mr Kola Balogun, said: “CAPMI has come to stay, we will make it work and it is a way to relieve consumers from the constant ‘crazy bill’ and estimated billing, but as a manufacturing company our aim is to key into the policy of the scheme.
“We can assure you that as soon as any consumer pays, meter will be made available within the shortest time frame, between 24 or 48 hours.
He said that MOMAS has the capacity to produce 100,000 meters monthly, adding that the company will meet any requirement within that range.
Balogun said the meters would be locally manufactured, adding that his company is introducing smart metering technology into the country.
According to him, the smart metering allows electricity consumers to manage their consumption and the amount to be paid.
Information from National Mirror was used in this report.