The Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IE) has said it is designing a proposal to refund its customers for prepaid meters procured under the ongoing Meter Assets Provider (MAP) scheme.
IE’s Head of Corporate Communications, Felix Ofulue, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Tuesday.
Ofulue said that the proposal was, however, subject to the approval of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
NAN reports that a customer under the network currently pays N39, 765.86 for a single-phase meter and N72, 085.68 (VAT inclusive) for a three-phase meter.
Ofulue said the refund would either be in discounted tariffs or release of energy usage to cover the amount over a period of time upon approval by NERC.
He said: “People are not aware that we intend to make this repayment. There are a lot of things that we are putting into considerations.
“The current tariff we have now is actually not cost-reflective but once we agree on a semi-cost reflective tariff, then we are going to discount the tariff for our customers so that they can enjoy the benefit of the scheme.”
Ofulue reiterated that IE currently had enough meters to meet its customers’ demand after the shortage that occurred between August and September 2019.
“During that period, there was an increase of about 35 percent in import duty and our meters were stuck at the port but that had been addressed.
“The scheme had to look for extra funds to clear the meters and so we have enough meters right now,” he said.
According to him, the only challenge faced by the scheme is the survey of the homes of those applying for prepaid meters and that has to be done as quickly as possible.
Ofulue said: “This industry is a specialized field and you have to get the right equipment and people with the required skills to carry out the services.
“Once a customer is surveyed and advised to make payment, once the payment is made and it is confirmed, the customer will be metered within 10 working days.”
He said that the other problem faced in the installation of prepaid meters was that some customers do not indicate their references in their application form, which delayed the payment confirmation.
Ofulue said their failure to quote their account number or their application reference number would cause a snag in the system until it was resolved by the officials.
“We have always advised that whenever a customer makes payment, he should go back to our platform and upload their payment evidence @financemap/ikeja.com.
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“When we have that information, we immediately use that evidence to reconcile your payment and your meter will be installed.
“On the average, each of our vendors – Mojec, New Hampshire and Conlog – installs about 1,500 prepaid meters weekly under the ongoing scheme,” he said.
He said that efforts were on to increase installation to about 3,000 per week.
Ofulue noted that over 60,000 customers had so far been metered under the MAP scheme, saying that IE hoped to meter all its customers by 2022.
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