By Yunus Yusuf
The management of Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc (EKEDC) said on Friday that it had provided meters to the 6,834 Maximum Demand (MD) customers within its network, as directed by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The Chief Operating Officer of EKEDC, Mr Sam Nwaire, announced this at a town hall meeting with customers under the Agbara-Badagry Business District in Lagos.
Nwaire said that the essence of the town hall meeting was to update its customers on the development and to engage them on ways they could assist EKEDC to improve its services.
He said that the company had completed metering all its MD customers since March 31, within the stipulated time frame.
Nwaire explained that the company had metered about 50 per cent residential customers on free meters, to meet its five years metering plan, adding that residential consumers were not included in the directive issued by the NERC on the “no meter, no payment,’’ order.
“The clarification has become necessary because some customers were claiming that the NERC directed all consumers yet to be metered to stop paying electricity bills.
“We are happy to report that our maximum demand customers have been provided with meters, as directed by the NERC, and that they are no longer billed by estimation.
“While we are making efforts to provide meters for all our customers, we will continue to ensure the integrity of our bills and do everything within our mandate to comply with all NERC directives.
“We, therefore, urge our non-MD customers to please avail themselves of the content of the directive and be rightly guided.
“Consumers should not misinterpret it to avoid paying for electricity already consumed,’’ Nwaire said.
The COO promised that all unmetered customers would be reached within the stipulated time, as it was not possible for all customers to be metered at the same time, because of the huge costs involved.
He urged those yet to be reached in the meter roll-out to exercise patience, as no customer would be left out in the end.
Nwaire also said the DISCO had an established billing method approved by the industry regulator for billing unmetered customers, based on a number of factors.
He listed the factors to include the customers’ consumption pattern over time and availability of power supply within the particular month for which the customers were billed.
The EKEDC boss urged communities to be vigilant and guard against the activities of vandals in their areas.
He said that the company would partner the police to ensure that suspects and others would be duly prosecuted in court.
Nwaire said the company only recovered N4.8 billion out of N6.3 billion owed by customers for the month of May.
He said that the company was able to recover huge revenue due to the peak period, adding that customers under its network have yet to pay over N1.5 billion, which was part of the electricity consumed in May.
Nwaire said that EKEDC was still battling to recover over N1.5 billion owed by customers for the month, adding that such huge debts had affected the company’s major projects.
NAN reports that maximum demand customers are commercial and industrial customers, who consume high levels of electricity and contribute substantially to the revenues of distribution companies.
NERC had on June 11, directed MD customers not provided with meters to stop paying estimated bills presented from the distribution companies.