Enugu — The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) yesterday began the sensitisation of its customers in the South-East on the allegation that the currently being deployed smart pole prepaid meters were configured to rip off her customers.
The Guardian learnt that customers across the zone have complained that the smart pole prepaid meters have compounded their energy challenges as they are said to run faster than the ones deployed when the company was managed by the Federal Government, thus increasing their monthly consumption.
The interactive session, held in Enugu and Abakaliki, had in attendance customers of EEDC, including those whose meters have been installed, representatives of various professional bodies and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The customers were presented with a live demonstration of the metering process, integrity of the meter, meter tampering, meter acquisition processes, tips on energy management and process of online recharge of the meter.
EEDC's meter engineer, Christopher Chukwu, stressed that the meters were not programmed to run fast, as being peddled; rather he encouraged customers to imbibe the culture of energy management and always switch off appliances when not in use and always go for energy-saving appliances.
He said that meters are subjected to various regulatory checks and certification by respective government agencies like NEMSA before they get to them, adding that EEDC "does not and will not manipulate the functionality of their meters."
"These are smart meters manufactured abroad and we do not have the intelligence, technology and know-how to manipulate them as that may lead to damage of the meters.
"It should be noted that EEDC is committed to metering its customers and closing the inherited metering gap. We have gone far in metering our maximum demand customers and currently metering our individual/residential customers," he said.
There was also a demonstration on the integrity of the meters, when displayed and used to record the energy consumption of three different bulbs in less than 30 minutes and they recorded a particular consumption.
EEDC's head of Communications, Emeka Ezeh, stated that the sensitisation was aimed at clearing the insinuations bothering on the integrity and performance of the meters, adding that it was also to clear the air on the process of acquiring and recharging the meters.
"This customer sensitisation exercise will continue across the remaining parts of the EEDC's franchise area. This is also aimed at clearing the air of some unfounded insinuations bothering on the integrity and performance of the meters being made by some individuals and groups; and also educating the customers on the functionality of the meters, as well as processes of acquiring and recharging the meters", he added.