Concerns are mounting over moves by Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) to cut electricity supply from thousands of customers using prepaid smart card meters in the South East from January 1, 2020.EEDC said that customers logged on the smart card meters might not recharge from next week, as it did not have the facilities to operate the meters.
To continue to enjoy electricity from the national grid, such customers are either provided with new meters that use keypad or are billed on estimation monthly. Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) sold the prepaid smart card meters to consumers to replace the analog meters, shortly before the unbundling of the electricity sector by the Federal Government in 2014.
The distribution company (DisCo), which said the meters had become obsolete and no longer reliable for “accurate measurement of energy consumption”, had last week issued notices to customers to apply for replacement of meters.
The inability of the notices dated December 16, 2019, to state in clear terms what customers were expected to pay for the new meters and how long it would take for replacement to be made got EEDC customers, majority of whom did not receive the notices before embarking on their Christmas holiday, worried.
Competent sources, however, said each consumer might cough out up to N40,000 to get the new meters, adding that it was a way of getting meters wholly operated and supplied by the EEDC and phasing out the ones supplied by Federal Government.The move was in line with the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme approved by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) that rolled out in May this year across several distribution companies, The Guardian gathered.
A notice to that effect signed by Network Manager, Jyotirmaya Lenka, dated December 16, 2019 from the EEDC confirmed the move to replace the meters.The notice read in part: “Please be informed that effective from January 1, 2020, you will not be able to make use of the meter currently in your supply address due to technical issues. The system used in monitoring such is outdated and no longer accessible. Also, the meter is obsolete and no longer reliable for accurate measurement of energy consumption. You are advised by this letter to key into MAP immediately for meter replacement.”
Efforts to speak with the EEDC’s Head of Communications, Emeka Ezeh, on the development proved abortive, as he did not pick his calls.
But an official of the company, who spoke on condition of anonymity, urged the affected customers to visit the nearest service unit of the company with a recent copy of their recharge voucher and a valid means of identification to commence the process for meter request or complete the process online.