Nigerian electricity distribution company Ikeja Electric (IE) has announced that it is designing a proposal to refund its customers for pre-paid meters procured under the ongoing Meter Assets Provider (MAP) scheme.
Head of corporate communications, Felix Ofulue, made the announcement to the News Agency of Nigeria, adding that the proposal is subject to the approval of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
It is reported that a customer under the network currently pays N39,765.86 for a single-phase meter and N72,085.68 (VAT inclusive) for a three-phase meter.
Speaking to the media, Ofulue said the refund would either be in discounted tariffs or release of energy usage to cover the amount over a period of time upon approval by NERC.
He said: “People are not aware that we intend to make this repayment. There are a lot of things that we are putting into considerations.
“The current tariff we have now is actually not cost-reflective but once we agree on a semi-cost reflective tariff, then we are going to discount the tariff for our customers so that they can enjoy the benefit of the scheme.”
According to Ofulue, IE currently has enough meters to meet its customers’ demand after the shortage that occurred between August and September 2019.
“During that period, there was an increase of about 35% in import duty and our meters were stuck at the port but that had been addressed.
“The scheme had to look for extra funds to clear the meters and so we have enough meters right now,” he said.
Challenges with the pre-paid meters’ scheme
Ofulue further revealed that the only challenge faced by the scheme is the survey of the homes of those applying for pre-paid meters and that has to be done as quickly as possible.
Ofulue said: “This industry is a specialised field and you have to get the right equipment and people with the required skills to carry out the services.
“Once a customer is surveyed and advised to make payment, once the payment is made and it is confirmed, the customer will be metered within 10 working days.”
He said that the other problem faced in the installation of pre-paid meters was that some customers do not indicate their references in their application form, which delayed the payment confirmation.
Ofulue said their failure to quote their account number or their application reference number would cause a snag in the system until it was resolved by the officials.
He said: “We have always advised that whenever a customer makes payment, he/she should go back to our platform and upload their payment evidence @financemap/ikeja.com.
“When we have that information, we immediately use that evidence to reconcile your payment and your meter will be installed.