THE suffering of electricity consumers has worsened as Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) lack adequate funds to procure prepaid meters for distribution.
. Investigations by Vanguard showed that many DISCOs have very limited stocks or no stocks of meters at the moment. For instance, Eko DISCO has limited stocks of the product. Engr Ola Oladele, Managing Director of the company said the company which has limited stock, had so far metered 65 per cent of its customers. He noted, “We are still metering for free. Go to places like Yaba, Festac Town, Ajijegidun in Ikate, Dolphin estate, we are giving free meters.”
But the story is different in Ikeja DISCO that has no meter to provide to customers who flood its premises daily in search for the product. Vanguard gathered that the company has exhausted its limited stock and does not have funds to place order for them at the moment.
Consequently, even customers who have funds to procure the meters in line with decision of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) were disappointed last week. Mr. Felix Ofulue, spokesman of the company said in a telephone interview that the company does not have the funds to procure meters for all customers at the same time. Meanwhile, the company has embarked on mass disconnection of consumers, whose bills accumulated as a result of estimation.
The consumers were required to pay at least 40 per cent of total bills, N2,000 reconnection and commit to paying the outstanding before reconnection. Our correspondent who has been going to the company for the purpose of getting the meter without success in the past three years went round to feel the pulse of consumers. While some the consumers said they were in pains and tears over alleged exploitation of the company, others said they have already petitioned relevant government agencies, including the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Consumer Protection Council (CPC). A source in CPC said the council has already received numerous complaints from not only Ikeja DISCO customers but also other DISCOs. He disclosed that while some have been resolved others were still pending.