Nigerian power distribution company Ikeja Electric, announced that it will be investing $100 million in pre-paid smart meters to be deployed to its customers for free.
The smart meter intiative will begin in May with the deployment of 2,000 units, an additional 5,000 in June and 12,000 to 15,000 thereafter, local media Punch reported.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ikeja Electric, Abiodun Ajifowobaje, said in an exclusive interview with Punch, that the two biggest hurdles facing the distribution companies was inadequate power supply from the national electricity grid and inadequate metering.
Ajifowobaje added: “We didn’t have the opportunity of studying the system by the time we took over; so, it took a lot of time for us to look at the metering types that we need that will suit our type of environment and our type of customers.”
“We have concluded that now and we have signed an agreement to the tune of almost $100m for us to meter all our customers starting from the first week of June. We are going to bring in smart meters. When we present them to the customers, everybody will be happy, and we are going to roll them out massively over the next three years”, he explained.
Roll-out of meters
The power purchase agreement (PPA) with the state says that the distribution companies are responsible for metering all customers within a five year period.
Ajifowobaje added: “But at Ikeja, we have decided that we are going to do that within three years at no cost to the customers. We are not going to collect money from our customers, we are going to issue the meters free of charge.”
“I would have said we are going to start in May; but in May, it is going to be a pilot scheme, which is about 2,000 meters. By the time we get to June, when we will roll out massively, we are going to start with 5,000 and every month we are going to be installing 12,000 to 15,000 meters. That is the plan”, he concluded.
“If you go to the NERC website, there is an estimated billing methodology, which is what we are following to the letter in Ikeja. We try as much as possible. I am not saying that this thing is perfect because no matter how well you give somebody estimated billing, what he wants is a meter and that is why people have asked why we have not rolled out our meters,” Ajifowobaje said.