Mr Ernest Mupwaya, Managing Director of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), has refuted claims by Abuja residents that the officials of the company are extorting money from them to install prepaid meters.
Mupwaya told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja that AEDC established metering programme to tackle irregularities and overpricing in energy usage and also to avoid extortion of customers.
Some Federal Capital Territory (FCT) residents alleged that they applied for installation of prepaid meters since the past one year, but had yet to receive it and now they were being asked to pay some money again.
The AEDC boss allayed fears by some of the residents by urging people to always embrace the use of smart meters to avoid over billings in the use of electricity.
According to him, we do not extort anyone; metering programme has been designed as a means to regulate, the initiative is to help metering response and we must embrace it.
Mupwaya said “what customers should demand is that they should actually embrace the programme, because it has lots of flexibility.
“Customers may not be able to pay at once but could do so in one or two years; it is designed in a way that there is affordable means to pay.
“Once you have paid you are then entitled to receive your prepaid meter in transparent ways within 10 days and this is to close metering gaps.
“We have invested in it to enable customers that are willing to pay to do so; this will reduce load shedding in transmission of the power sector.
“Electricity has been inadequate to close gaps in distribution of electricity within specific time; this is why we designed another programme for customers to key into prepaid metering within 36 months.”
He explained that the designed metering programme would start on May 1, to enable the company to demand for meter supply where it has not been enough.
In separate interview, Mr Danliti Inusa, Acting General Manager Technical Services of AEDC, said although residents complained about poor electricity supply in Gwarimpa, Kubwa and Bwari axis, there would be improvement.
According to him, we are having some issues in terms of capacity limitation at Kubwa where we have the sub-stations.
“So, presently we are working on the line from Katampe to feed Dawaki and part of Gwarimpa, by so doing power supply at Bwari and Kubwa axis will be reduced.
“We are hoping in the next three weeks that should be resolved and equally on the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) side, efforts are on to restore a failed transformer in Kubwa.
“So when these efforts are made power supply will be improved in Kubwa, Gwarimpa and Bwari axis,” Inusa said.
Earlier, cross section of resident in the FCT, told NAN that although they applied for prepaid meters, the company had not installed it to rescue them from paying overpriced electricity bills.
Some residents also said that notwithstanding the installation of prepaid meters in their houses, electricity supply had not been constant for them to get value for their money.
A resident of Kubwa community, Mr Emmanuel Ochai, said poor electricity supply was hindering his business and urged the AEDC to tackle the problem in order to improve the living condition of the people.
According to him, power is not really stable, sometimes we have light but most times we do not, there is no challenge using the prepaid meter but of what use is it when is not constant.
“It is sad that you cannot use Air conditioner or even Fan under the present weather condition, we really need AEDC to tackle the problem,” Ochai said.
A resident of Lugbe, Miss Christy Jalija, said she uses prepaid meter but irregular supply of power hindered her getting value for the money.
A resident of Bwari, who pleaded anonymity, said he paid for prepaid meter since 2017, but was yet to receive it.
“I have applied for prepaid meter since two years now and I have not received it; we were told it will be free and now they are asking us to pay, which is scam.
“They charge me exorbitant fees for power supply that is not constant in the name of loss of energy, this needs to be reviewed to avoid further extortion,” he said.