The Federal Government has concluded plans to distribute over 1milllion pre-paid meters in the coming months to help reduce the spate of excessive estimated bills handed to consumers by some distribution companies (DISCOS)
The Minister of Power Chinedu Nebo, revealed this at a town hall meeting in Abuja this week.
He said the federal government has announced that it will provide one million pre-paid electricity meters for distribution in the coming months.
Nebo said that the gesture was part of efforts to end estimated billing served consumers by the various electricity DISCOs.
The minister revealed that government still owns 40 per cent equity in the privatised power sector companies and reiterated government’s determination to ensure that consumers are billed only for energy consumed.
With about 50 per cent of consumers still unmetered, Nebo said, government will continue to insist that DISCOs provide meters for customers.
“The problem is if you have no meters you are subject to estimated billing. That’s why some people may not even be happy to give you meters. But we think we should continue to insist that every consumer must be metered. When government kick starts the massive deployment of meters, estimated billing will stop,” Nebo said.
While noting that the private sector inherited an unmetered customer base that was more than 50 per cent, the minister explained that funding for the procurement of the meters have been approved by the President.
He added that the meters would be deployed in a couple of months after the sharing mechanism is worked out. He also lamented the level of energy theft in the country, which according to him has the highest per capital electricity theft in the world.
“What I am saying is that we have thieves who steal electricity; they may be very well dressed and responsible citizens but they are thieves because they are not paying their due electricity bills”.
Nebo disclosed that power generation is still around 4,500mw, stressing that it falls short of the country’s target even as he insists that real progress is being made in the sector.