AEDC Plans Bulk Metering Of Customers In Niger

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).

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