To engage community youths in cash collection
The management of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) Plc has revealed plans to resort to clusters of electric meters for its customers in Niger State as a temporary step towards addressing their yearnings for accurate billing before the mass installation of individual meters by the Company across the state.
The Director, Corporate Services, AEDC, Engr. Abimbola Odubiyi, made the revelation on Thursday at a meeting of the Niger State Council on Quality and Constant Electricity Supply held at the Government House in Minna.
According Engr. Odubiyi, in its determination to address the yearnings of its customers in Niger, Nasarawa and Kogi states, as well as the FCT, the Company had two weeks ago signed contracts with two firms for the provision and installation of 90,000 meters at the cost of N3.4 billion.
“However, because we know that our customers in Niger State, just as in the FCT, Kogi and Nasarawa states, are anxious to have meters, we are considering putting bulk meters at transformer points so that clusters of customers such as villages or estates would be billed in accordance with readings taken from such meters”, he said, adding that the arrangements would be such that the meter readings would be taken in the presence of each group of customers being served by a transformer or their selected representatives.
According to him: “This bulk metering will be a stopgap arrangement because manufacturing and installation of individual meters would take some time, and we’ve noticed that one of the key desires of our customers is to be sure that their billing is being done accurately”.
The AEDC director further explained that the Company is resorting to the bulk metering of communities or estates due to certain realities in the power sector in Nigeria which reveal that it may take up to
four or five years before every electricity consumer will have a meter. “This is because, meters can’t be provided overnight due to the high number of meters to be installed, the huge capital required, as well as the liquidity challenge affecting the power sector because we’re yet to have a cost reflective tariff in place”, Engr. Odubiyi stressed.
He added that the funding challenge of the power sector is further compounded by the high foreign exchange rate, low level of power generation and high inflation, among others.
The director also used the opportunity to announce AEDC’s plans to engage youths from the various communities where bulk meters are installed to help the Company in cash collection at a fee. “This idea,
which was well received when we announced it two weeks ago in Bida, is a veritable means of empowering our youths and thereby reduce unemployment”, Engr. Odubiyi said.
He, however, used the opportunity of the Council’s meeting to solicit the cooperation of customers in the state towards regular settlement of electricity bills, decrying that while Niger State has continued to
receive the second highest allocation of the energy made available to AEDC for distribution to its customers across its six regions, the response in terms of bills payment has not been encouraging.
The director also appealed for cooperation of Nigerlites with the Company in its efforts to curb the rising spate of vandalism, which he said has become a big menace and urged members of the public to always raise alarm whenever they notice suspicious movements around electricity facilities.
Earlier on in his address at the beginning of the meeting, the Niger State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Muhammad Ketso said the current administration in the state is passionate about improving electricity for the people and therefore needs assurance from AEDC that power supply will improve.
The deputy governor also appealed to the Company to fast track the process of providing prepaid meters and additional transformers to electricity consumers, while urging the AEDC to document all its
investments across the state.
Other members of the Council in attendance at the meeting include the State Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe, the Director (Electrical Services) of the State Ministry of Works, Engr. Is’haq Mohammed Lapai, as well as the representatives of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the Hydropower Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC).