The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), Tuesday, launched the National Free Mass Metering Programme for its customers in Abuja, Kogi, Nasarawa and Niger states.
The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of AEDC, Dr. Ernest Mupwaya, who spoke at the event held at Gaduwa Housing Estate, Apo district, Abuja, said the Federal Government had provided sufficient resources for the programme.
He said under the programme, AEDC would receive a total of 900,000 meters at the cost of N23bn, adding that the expected items would be sufficient to meter all customers including replacement of defective meters.
Mupwaya stated that AEDC planned to install over 101,000 meters at a cost of N6bn without charging customers in the next 14 months.
He said: “The significance of this programme is that it has been designed with sufficient resources to meter all customers. The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) who has 40 percent shareholding, had sourced sufficient funding to support Discos for a low interest shareholder loan that will make it possible for Discos to receive sufficient meters to close the metering gap for good.
“Over the years, the company has embarked on various metering initiatives such as CAPMI and MAP. These programmes have achieved some successes that resulted in metering of over 300,000 customers.
“Currently, with the flag-off of this National Free Mass Program, AEDC will receive a total of 900,000 meters, at the cost of N23bn which will be sufficient to meter all customers including replacement of defective meters.
“Between now and December 2021, AEDC plans to install over 101,000 meters at a cost of N6bn without charging customers.
“The rest of the meters will be installed 18 months after, through a comprehensive roll out programme that will result in simultaneous installations in all three states of Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa in addition to the FCT.
“The metering of customers has a huge positive implication not only to the electricity industry but to the entire economy in a number of ways. Firstly, massive metering will create jobs through installation and inspections of meters after installations”.
The AEDC MD, however, appealed to the company’s customers to use the meters for the intended purpose, warning that punitive measures await anyone caught bypassing the meter.
“On this note, I wish to appeal to customers to accept the meters and resist any attempt by unscrupulous people who may approach them, with an offer to compromise the meters.
“The regulator ,NERC, has put in place punitive penalties for those caught bypassing the meter to the extent that the fines override the perceived benefit apart from damaging the good working relationship with the discos”, he said.
Also speaking, an elder statesman, Dr Tom Adaba, who appreciated AEDC management for launching the programme at the estate, called for a ‘moderated’ electricity tariff.
Adaba, who is the pioneer Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), said with a moderated electricity tariff, the temptation of meter bypassing will be defeated.