The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) has assured its customers that every household under its franchise will be supplied with the free digital prepaid meter in due course.
Dr Ademola Adewumi, IBEDC’s Regional Head, Ogun, gave the assurance on Thursday, at a public sensitisation programme on the ongoing National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) held in Abeokuta.
The programme was organised by the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation.
Adewumi said that the sensitisation programme had become necessary to update clients on the metering scheme and other operations, as well as to receive feedback for consideration on future policies.
He re-emphasised that the Federal Government planned to distribute one million meters to unmetered electricity customers across the country in the phase zero of the scheme.
The official said that IBEDC had already distributed 69,000 of the 104,000 quota ceded to it, and hoped to distribute the remaining metres as they were being supplied before the expiration of the phase zero in July.
According to him, IBEDC has decided to distribute the meters firstly along the priority feeders which are categorised under A and B to deal with huge financial losses, before moving to categories C, D and E.
He assured that by the end of phase three of the scheme, IBEDC would have covered the over one million-meter deficit under its franchise.
Adewumi explained that areas which were nearer to power infrastructure had continued to enjoy regular supply of power while areas which were not so close to the infrastructure were not that opportuned.
He said that the firm had continued to address the infrastructure deficit by investing huge resources on the feeders and other facilities, so that power supply could get to the disadvantaged areas.
“We are not relenting on our efforts. It involves huge investments and it is going to take some time, but we will definitely ensure that we continue to make more investments to improve power supply to our customers,” he said.
Adewumi said that many of the customers had continued to judge the firm through the bad experiences they had with former power agencies without moving closer to IBEDC.
He, therefore, called on the customers to take advantage of the various channels of communication set up by the firm to register their complaints.
Chief Sunday Oduntan, the Executive Director, ANED, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after the programme, noted that the scheme would put an end to the issue of estimated billing when completed.
Oduntan identified impatience on the part of customers as one of the challenges encountered by the distribution companies in the implementation of the scgeme.
He said that since the demand for the digital meter was high, while the rate of supply by the local manufacturers was low, customers needed to excercise patience before the meters could go round.
“We shall soon enter the phase one of the scheme and more meters will be supplied to us, and we can then move to other areas,” Oduntan said.
He commended IBEDC for its “laudable and wonderful” efforts at improving power supply to its customers.
The ANED chief said that IBEDC had continued to perform well underground without the knowledge of its clients.
He said that the greatest feedback from the programme was the need to establish effective communication lines between the distribution companies and their customers.
Oduntan said that the programme had been held in Lagos State with the Ikeja and Eko distribution companies.
“We shall soon move to Kano, Enugu, Port-Harcourt and Abuja,” he said.