Contrary to government directive that pre-paid meters would now be given to electricity consumers free under the new Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO 2), LEADERSHIP’s investigation revealed that meters are still being sold to consumers in Abuja.
The only meters presently being installed by PHCN officials free of charge are pre-paid meters under the World Bank project which are said to be limited to some districts like Kubwa, an Abuja satellite town.
When LEADERSHIP visited some PHCN offices in Abuja, officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said although they have stock of meters, but they are not for free.
“Meters are not free, if you want a meter you have to raise a draft in the name of PHCN for the type of meter you want. A single phase meter is N25, 000 while a three phase meter is N55, 000,” said an official in one of the PHCN offices.
He explained that in addition to the payment, a processing fee of N10, 000 and N25, 000 is paid on a one phase and three phase meter respectively, in addition to connection fee which will depend on the distance of the house to the electric pole.
“We buy meters and import them ourselves so why will we give them out for free. Government has not provided PHCN money to purchase meters, we have not even been paid in the last three months. PHCN does not have money, we are in dire need of money,” the official added.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC) has announced the abolition of meter fees, saying consumers, under the new electricity tariff, would no longer pay for meters as the cost has been built into the new bill.
Under the new arrangement, Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Sam Amadi, explained that provision of meters was now the responsibility of the various Distribution Companies (discos), adding that government was providing them funds to ensure that the entire industry is metered within the next 18 months.
Efforts to get response from the Chief Executive Officer of Abuja Disco, Abdulganiyu Umar, on the matter as at press time was unsuccessful as calls made to his phone were unanswered even as there was no response to a text message sent to him.