Aba Power to Provide ‘Free’ Meters, Dump Estimated Billings 

Dike Onwuamaeze

The Aba Power Limited, which is Nigeria’s newest electricity distribution company, has launched an aggressive programme to provide meters to all its customers in nine out of the 17 local government areas in Abia State where it supplies electric power.

The Managing Director of APL, Mr. Patrick Umeh, explained in a recent press statement that the company’s metering programme would also mark the beginning of the end of estimated billings of electricity consumers in its area of operation.

Umeh, a former commissioner with the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), said that the Aba Power would want to make history by being the first distribution company to meter all its customers even though the company was licensed only last February to provide power to the nine LGAs in Abia State.

He said that the meter programme is being executed under the NERC’s Meter Access Providing (MAP) scheme.

The cost of a single-phase meter under this programme, according to him, is N63,061.32 while that of a three-phase meter is N117,910.69.

Umeh further explained that customers would be repaid the cost of obtaining each meter through energy credit in 36 months, implying that the customers would be entitled to power supply until they have obtained full value for the meter payment.

 “In other words”, he explained, the customers “are getting the meters at no cost to their pockets.”

 He said: “The era of estimated bills given to consumers will soon be a thing of the past in our coverage area,” adding that “we are going to pursue the programme’s implementation with all the energy we can muster.

“Our chairman, Professor Barth Nnaji, a former Minister of Power, has always argued that it is unfair to ask consumers to continue to pay estimated bills which may make them feel shortchanged each month.

“This practice doesn’t make for probity or transparency, as there is no evidence of what they actually consumed for the period charged.

“We are a socially responsible firm, so we must be seen as committed to the highest ethical standards of transparency.”

Umeh said that the Aba Power would always regard its customers as partners in progress, rather than persons to be exploited for economic or commercial gains.

He said that the first phase of the metering exercise would commence 5,000 meters that would be available in single and three phases, “and will be installed in buildings and other structures according to the technical needs of each place.”

Umeh, a former executive with the Los Angeles Water and Power Company in California, United States of America, explained that three-phase meters would be installed in big structures while single-phase meters will be installed in smaller ones.

“It is not really so much about big structures as about the electricity needs of each place,” he noted, adding that “our technical team will visit each structure and assess the needs, after which our partners, Holley Metering Limited, will install the appropriate meter.”

He disclosed that the Aba utility firm chose to work with Holley Metering Limited after NERC had certified it as a reliable meter provider. 

Umeh requested Aba Power customers to visit or call any of the company’s offices in Abia State on the phone to procure the right meter, assuring them of prompt attention.

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