In accordance with the directives of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to bridge the lingering metering gap through the new Meter Asset Providers (MAP) initiative, Ikeja Electric Plc (IE) has declared intentions to roll out about 100,000 pre-paid meters under the scheme from June 17th around the Ikorodu business unit.
According to IE, the new partnership with New Hampshire Capital limited, a MAP, would facilitate the provision of the meters to cover three business units, (Ikorodu, Abule Egba and Shomolu), which is considered the phase one after which another three, (Oshodi, Ikeja and Akowonjo) would fall under the phase two of the scheme.
According to the Acting Chief Commercial Officer IE, Ugo obichukwu at the launch in Lagos on Moday, more than 400,000 under IE are unmetered, adding that it is the more reason why the company seeks to cover between 70 to 100,000 customers for the phase one of the MAP implementation.
"We believe we can meter about 20,000 customers in a month provided we have all our MAPs in place", he said.He said the company has resorted to an online portal for registration platform to ensure efficiency and thus far about 14,000 have visited the portal with about five thousand registering for the first step of registration, know your customer (KYC). He was however optimistic that other customers would log on to register by the end of this week.
Meanwhile The Guardian gathered that some customers under the IE network have gotten meters at different prices from the official prices and that cash has been paid to acquire meters, which is apparently contrary to what IE says. Obichukwu, however refuted the claim that IE was slow in its implementation of the scheme as compared to other distribution companies, saying IE is rather in the forefront of implementation. three MAPs which is a demonstration of its commitment to the initiative.
"We have meters already in store. When you sign contract with MAPs, they also source meters either locally or abroad to meet demands, but we are sure to meet our roll out plans," he added.
In his remark, the Chief Executive Director of New Hampshire Capital limited, Odion Omonfoman noted that their sole mandate was to finance and provide meters for customers as third party operators as directed by NERC, therefore their 10 years contract with IE commences with the provision of about 276,000 meters over the next 20 to 22 months, adding that the firm's target would be to install about 10000 meters at the peak of operation when it starts by next week.
He advanced that it wasn't mandatory for customers to pay at once because there is a provision for payments in instalment called the Meter Service Charge.IE also advised customers who dispute their outstanding bills to take advantage of the various repayment options available during the KYC process, because outstanding balance can also be rolled over into the customer's prepaid account and paid in instalments.