The Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) Plc has expressed concern over the vandalism of its meters and other facilities in Plateau and Bauchi states. It has also expressed dissatisfaction with customers’ apathy towards payment of bills, resistance to smart meter installation, harassment of staff, and meter bypass connection, warning that the culprits will be severely dealt with.
The Disco has however disclosed that it has installed 22,000 smart meters out of 50,000 recently procured.
Addressing journalist in Jos, the Managing Director of JEDC, Alhaji Mohammed Modibbo warned that if the heinous crime continues unabated, the company will find it difficult to efficiently provide electricity supply to its teeming consumers.
Modibbo, who vowed to engage security operatives to deal with the criminals, said the unpatriotic consumers living in Low cost area of Jos and some parts of Bauchi have wreaked untold havoc on its facilities in those areas, and have also devised ways of bypassing metering.
He noted that although JEDC had faced similar challenges in other states like Gombe and Benue, it has been able to resolve them through customers’ consultative forum, but added that the same has also been applied in Plateau and Bauchi states but with little result.
While vowing to sustain prosecution of criminal elements who are bent on sabotaging the efforts of the company, Modibbo said legal actions are being instituted against some defaulters’ of bill payment and consumers that bypass meters. He added that 168 culprits in Bauchi are currently wallowing in jail over the offence.
He said, “Consumers have repeatedly refused our staffs to install the smart meters with reasons that the new meter is running too fast; we have explained to them that the meters help them to conserve energy and only pay for what they consume, but because they are not used to paying bills with the old system before we took over, they are finding it difficult to come to terms with the current realities.
“We have advised that consumers should switch off appliances when they don’t have need for them, for instance if you leave one bulb on every day for eight hours, in a month you will be billed N1000 for that bulb.
“The truth is that the smart meter helps you to conserve and regulate energy because when it is turned off your credit remain intact and can only count when it is turned on.”