The Benin Electricity Distribution Company has reported that it has installed 36 000 prepaid meters in the past year. One of the major challenges still existing in the Nigerian power sector,  is the number of electricity customers who do not own a meter, giving rise to erroneous bills.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, had implemented a scheme – the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI). This afforded unmetered customers the opportunity to pay and advance to the electricity provider for the swift meter implementation.

Mary Awolokun, commissioner in charge of Engineering, Standards an Safety at NERC, informed at a recent stakeholders’ forum that NERC was to conduct a countrywide tour of all Nigerian distribution electricity companies (DISCOs), meeting with their customers to gage the progress made toward CAPMI implementation.

DISCOs have 45 day timeframe in which to meet meter supply targets under the advanced payments scheme (CAPMI). Abu Ismail-Ejoor told NERC that the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), has installed 36 000 pre-paid meters in the last year, at a rate of 3 000 pre-paid meters per month.

BEDC has stated that it intends to move all of its pre-paid customers onto an ‘online real time vending system’ allowing them to buy electricity tokens 24 hours a day.

A NERC assessment conducted of the operational assessment of all 11 discos post-privatisation showed that the distribution companies proved to be a mixed bag – in terms of meeting criteria set out in the assessment. Discos were judged on a number of criteria including the provision of metering facilities to customers. Sam Amadi, NERC chief has however disputed stated claims of improvements by discos whose results show otherwise.  He said that some  had fallen short post-privatisation and those who had traditionally underperformed had risen above those who claim to have exceeded expectations.

Amadi stated in a recent interview: ‘If you look at metering now, Ibadan and Benin claims to be the best but our evidence does not support that claim. Eko has tried, Ikeja has surprisingly fallen short of standard … the new guys are not doing well in terms of dealing with consumers an market settlement and so there are a mixed grill of discos performances.’