Prepayment Meters

Consumers, groups tackle EEDC over prepaid meters, inefficiency

Isola Moses

Thousands of electricity consumers in the South-East geo-political zone of Nigeria have protested against the sudden decision of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), in forcing them to discontinue the use of prepayment meters with cards, and put them on estimated billing system.

This decision, Vanguard reports, has drawn the anger of the consumers who have vowed to resist the wicked decision, saying they will go to extent of calling for the revocation of the operating licence of the company and give it to a more competent and capable company.

The aggrieved consumers allege that EEDC is discontinuing the use of the standalone prepayment meters which they said are very efficient and accurate in reading energy consumption and returning the users to the outrageous estimated billing system, as there no available MAP prepaid meters to replace them.

The action of EEDC has drawn widespread outrage, including South-East journalists, traders, students, lecturers and Ndigbo United Forum (NUF), who have taken it upon its themselves to engage the company, and urged them to reverse the decision but to no avail.

Worried by the action and nonchalant attitude of the EEDC over the issue coupled with its incompetence in managing the DisCo, practising and retired journalists from the South-East zone have condemned EEDC’s action.

They urged the firm to reverse it, and save thousands of consumers from untold hardship by forcing them to pay N39, 000 for the MAP meters which may not get to them in the next 2 years.

Report adds that rather than acceding to the various protests, EEDC has remained adamant and trivialised the problem by responding that only 40, 000 are affected, a claim rubbished by independent investigations.

Operating under the umbrella name of Izuwanne, the journalists lamented that despite the untold hardship electricity consumers in the South-East zone are subjected to, EEDC decided to further aggravate it by the decision to discontinue the use of standalone prepaid meters.

In a statement signed by Sir Abuchi Anueyiagu and Elder Ngwoke Ngwoke, the convener and secretary, respectively, Izunwanne frowned on this “surreptitious plan by EEDC to forcefully return these consumers to the wicked and outrageous estimated billing method of collecting revenue.

“It had long been rejected because of its inherent arbitrariness and exploitation of the consumers.”

The group expressed doubt over the supply of the MAP meters, insisting that EEDC’s promise was only a ploy, saying “we find it difficult to believe the EEDC on this because we are very much aware that thousands of customers who applied for the MAP meters over two years now are yet to be supplied with any unit of the device.”

“Besides the tactical delay, which we know the supply of the new meters will suffer, we are uncomfortable with the fact that when it is finally available, if at all it will be, public electricity consumers in the South-East zone will be made to pay whopping N39,000 for a unit of the so-called new smart meters,” the statement added.

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