Nigeria’s newest electricity distribution company, Aba Power Ltd, has launched an aggressive programme to provide meters to all its customers in nine out of the 17 local government areas in Abia State where it supplies electric power.
“The era of estimated bills given to consumers will soon be a thing of the past in our coverage area”, declared Patrick Umeh, its managing director, in a statement in Aba today, adding” we are going to pursue the programme implementation with all the energy we can muster”.
Umeh, a former commissioner with the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), said that even though Aba Power was licensed only last February to provide power to the nine LGAs in Abia, it wants to make history by being the first to meter all its customers.
“Our chairman, Prof Bart Nnaji, a former Minister of Power, has always argued”, he continued, that“it is unfair to ask consumers to continue to pay estimated bills which may make them feel shortchanged each month.
“This practice doesn’t make for probity or transparency, as there is no evidence of what they actually consumed for the period charged.
“We are a socially responsible firm, so we must be seen as committed to the highest ethical standards of transparency.
“We regard customers as partners in progress, rather than persons to be exploited for economic or commercial gains”.
Umeh, a former executive with the Los Angeles Water and Power Company in California, revealed that 5000 meters have been procured in the first instance.
The meters are in single and three phases, and will be installed in buildings and other structures according to the technical needs of each place.
Three-phase meters, he explained, “will be installed in big structures while single-phase meters will be installed in smaller ones.
“It is not really so much about big structures as about the electricity needs of each place”.
The cost of single-phase meter is N63,061.32 and that of a three-phase meter is N117,910.69.
“Our Technical Team will visit each structure and assess the needs, after which our partners, Holley Metering Limited, will install the appropriate meter”, said the Aba Power chief.
He disclosed that the Aba utility firm chose to work with Holley Metering Limited after NERC had certified it as a reliable meter provider.
Commending NERC for its preeminent role in Aba Power’s ongoing programme to meter all its customers, Umeh disclosed that “it’s being executed under the NERC’s Meter Access Providing (MAP) scheme”.
The MD said that customers would be repaid the cost of obtaining each meter through energy credit in 36 months.
This means that the customers will be entitled to power supply until they have obtained full value for the meter payment.
“In other words”, he explained, the customers “are getting the meters at no cost to their pockets”.
Umeh requested Aba Power customers to visit or call any of the company’s offices in Abia State on the phone to procure the right meter, assuring them of prompt attention.