To achieve the Federal Government’s desire of bridging the metering gap in the country, the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) on Wednesday commenced the distribution of smart prepaid meters to customers in its franchise.
In the programme’s first batch, the Federal Government plans to distribute one million meters to unmetered electricity customers across the country through the electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) and IBEDC will distribute 104,000 of the meters to customers in its franchise.
Speaking to journalists at the flag-off of the distribution of the meters, the Head, Customer Support, IBEDC, Mr Ayo Adio, said the meters are entirely free of charge and pleaded with the customers not to pay anyone disguising as the firm’s staff for installation of meters. According to him, customers would usually be contacted and informed of the installation two days before the installation date.
He said: “We are here to launch the National Mass Metering Programme of the Federal Government. These are free meters, so customers are not paying for it. The essence is to discourage estimated billing that a lot of customers have been complaining about. We believe that within a few weeks, most of the customers that are designated for the meters would have it installed in their premises.
“We have our distribution strategy so that it would not depend on ‘man know man.’ It will be such that areas that have been designated would be metered as they are supplied. The customers that don’t have meters on the transformer would all fully be metered before we move to the next. You won’t have the opportunity of getting connected through any senior officer. It is an organised way of meeting our customers’ needs. There is nothing anybody can do to fast track it.
“This is the first batch of one million free meters. What we have for Ibadan DisCo is 104,000. As we take delivery within the next few weeks, we would distribute to our customers. Under this system, it is not possible for any of our staff to be mischievous because we are going to keep track as we meter any customer. It will get everywhere. People just have to be patient.
“The strategy that we have employed is to look at a particular area and meter all the customers that are unmetered. Our focus is on people who don’t have meters. We can meter those with faulty meters. There is no point to change analogue meters that are not faulty,” Adio remarked.
The distribution started at Agodi axis of Ibadan, Oyo State capital. IBEDC staff moved from one designated premises to another to install the meters. A customer, Mrs Abiola Olawore, who received one of the meters, expressed happiness, saying she had been requesting for the prepaid meter for more than seven years.
Another customer whose meter was installed a week ago said: “In truth, it’s been a relief. Before the installation, there were issues of ‘why did we get this much, are we being charged according to what we use’? But now, there’s a relief. It’s being fair because we are going to be charged for what we use. And when there is an issue with the light, we wouldn’t feel hurt that we would be charged for not using the light. Now, it would be for what we use.”
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