EKEDC says prepaid meters are available under MAP, attributes incoherent customers’ bio-data for installation delay

Oredola Adeola

The management of Eko Electricity Distribution Company(EKEDC) has attributed incorrect and incomplete details provided by customers when registering for prepaid meters as the major reasons responsible for the delay in the supply of prepaid meters to some customers who have applied for the facility under the Meter Asset Programme(MAP) scheme.

Dr. Tinuade Sanda, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of EKEDC, made this known on Thursday through a statement delivered on her behalf by Mr. Joseph Esenwa, EKEDC Chief Finance Officer(CFO) at the Customer Engagement Forum, organised for customers of the DisCo in Apapa District. According to the EKEDC MD/CEO, some customers who had applied and paid for the prepaid meters under the MAP scheme registered without providing the right bio-data when registering for the scheme.

She noted that prepaid meters are available under the MAP scheme, restating EKEDC’s commitment to rolling out meters to fast-tracking the closure of the metering gap.

This was the response provided by the EKEDC management to customers that have already paid for prepaid meters under MAP, for over 4 months now, but have been unable to get the facility installed in their properties.

Mr. Esenwa said,  “While the commitment to install prepaid meetings for customers under the MAP is critical, we have noticed that some customers provided wrong details including the valid means of identification. There is nothing we can do until they come forward to address the issue.

“Some of the incorrect details include wrong addresses, emails, applicants’ reference numbers, and invalid means of identification. The invalid bio-data has delayed the issuance of receipts for the processing of the meters.

“Customers need to provide the right and valid details that match their real identities. Other customers who have provided these details have been installed within a few days.

The EKEDC’s CFO further assured customers in Apapa District that the DisCo would soon visit the areas under the District to launch the mobile metering exercise for the on-the-spot applications of customers to support the existing online process of acquiring prepaid meters by customers under the MAP scheme.

He said, “The Meter Asset Provider Scheme has enabled customers to procure meters directly and be metered within 72 hours of payment confirmation, without any delay.

“The free meters under the NMMP are limited, due to fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding.

Despite the limitations of the NMMP, we have assured our customers of the availability of meters under the current MAP framework with the support of a third party(local manufacturers/assemblers), especially for customers who can’t wait for the take-off of the Phase 1 deployment schedule of the NMMP.

“There are a couple of incentives that are on the ground for those on the MAP scheme.  The MAP meters are available.

Reacting to the complaints of customers over the high tariff in the District, Esenwa attributed the changes in electricity tariff to the take-off of the Service-Based Tariff, the rising cost of gas for powering the generating plants, challenges of accessing foreign exchange for power supply transactions including the payment for gas and procurement of power infrastructure.

He said, “Tariffs have been going up for some time now and this is why the power supply across our network areas is improving. We have operated this industry without a reasonable increase in the tariff over a long time, since the take-off of the privatisation of the power sector due to the government’s interventions due to the electricity tariff shortfall.

“If the price of US dollars keeps going up, it would reflect on the tariff. We collect tariffs in Naira and we pay other service providers at the prevailing forex rate. The entire system will collapse if we don’t pay for the services rendered by the market operators including the transmission, generation, and gas suppliers.

Speaking on supply to Non-Maximum Demand customers(R2SP and R2TP for residential and C1SP and C1TP for commercial), the EKEDC’s CFO noted that tariffs in these categories are determined through the reading of the meter’s public transformers daily.

Reacting to customers’ complaints about the insufficient and uncoordinated power supply in the District, Esenwa noted that the supply challenges are always caused by the quantum of electricity released to EKEDC by the TCN and the generating companies.

He said, “We only distribute what is released to us by the TCN, we are here to serve the customers and would only distribute what is available. There are other challenges from TCN, GenCos, and some at our end. But we are all working together to improve the power supply.

Appealing to customers on the safeguarding of distribution equipment, vandalism, and security of duty-bound DisCo officials, the CFO seeks the Community Development Association and security officials to collaborate with EKEDC in providing the security of the EKEDC’s staff.

Commenting on the rising cases of a meter bypass and energy theft in the District, Esenwa charged customers including CDA leaders to be observant and assist the DisCos with the identity of the perpetrator.

“Whenever there are losses recorded due to meter bypass by any customers, that amount will always be shared on the tariff of other customers, especially those on Non-NDAs. We call on CDAs to ensure that we arrest the perpetrators.

“If you see anyone at the night tapping electricity with cables from the pole or conducting any form of illegalities, report such a person to us. If you are silent about it the cost may likely be deducted from other customers.
He said, “At some point in time the DisCos lost over 3 Billion on vandalism, energy theft, and others.

The CFO further revealed that the newly acquired transformers are due for installations across all ten(10) districts. We are also working harder to address issues of network alignment, and reduce the case of downtime and load shedding.

“Basically, there are a couple of MVA that will help to deliver more power to the District,” Esenwa noted.

The EKEDC’s senior in his reaction to the call for recruitment of more staff to improve on the rescue and task operations. He revealed that over 300 new staff of the organisation have been recruited and are being trained to resume across various locations.

Mr. Gibraltar Njowusi, Apapa Local Government Secretary, charged the EKEDC to assist the Apapa District with street lights. He, therefore, promised the commitment of the local government to building a good working relationship with EKEDC.

Mr. Saheed, a community leader representing the Congress of CDAs in Apapa Districts commended EKEDC for improving its customers’ relations and response to faults and repairs.

He however charged the management of the DisCo to procure more operational vehicles for staff of the District to increase the staff responsible for routine checks.

ESV Oluleye Oyewole, a customer with properties in Ladipo and Marine road urged  EKEDC to increase the electricity supply to the two areas, in equal quantum.

He disclosed that while the same amount is being paid to the two properties at the same period, the power supply to the two areas in the District has never been the same.

Mr. Igomu Lawrence, the Chief Port Engineer of the Nigerian Port Authority in Apapa, commended EKEDC for relative improvement and stability in the electricity supply to the port.

He said, “Terminal operators need more electricity to carry out operations at the ports. We need more supply and are willing to pay whatever amount. This is because of the role that electricity plays in the delivery of our operations at the country’s port.

He, therefore, charged EKEDC to come up with a special programme to cater to the power needed at the Port