CUSTOMERS APPEAL FOR REDUCTION IN PRICES OF PRE-PAID METERS
Customers under the Shomolu Business unit of Ikeja Electric, have appealed for a reduction in the cost of meters under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme, an initiative of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) designed to bridge metering gaps in the power sector.
Most of them acknowledged the benefit of the initiative as an end to crazy billings, but highlighted the cost as a limitation for several people.
One of the residents, Adetola Oguntola, who spoke to newsmen at a customer engagement forum by Ikeja Electric and one of its MAP, Mojec Metering Asset Company, stated that though the step to sensitise landlords and people of Shomolu on the meter registration process was laudable, consumers’ buying power remain weak to afford the single phase meter for N38,850 and the three phase for N70,350 (all VAT inclusive).
Adding that it would be appreciated if the prices can be reduced, another resident, Ronke Odusanya, also opined that the programme is educative because it cleared all the miscommunication around acquiring meters under the initiative.
For her, the prices were okay because of the inflation rate in the country, “but if there is any way they can reduce it, it will be appreciated as all fingers are not the same. Some people would love to acquire, but they can’t afford it; so if they can still beat the price down, it will be better.”
In response to some of the concerns raised, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mojec Metering Asset Company, Chantelle Abdul explained that her company has asked banking partners to come on board , so that an average customer who can’t afford the one-time payment of meter would be supported by partner banks with low interest rate loans.She mentioned some of the banks, include Zenith bank, Wema Hank, Polaris, Sterling, Unity, First bank, and a host of others who are yet sign with them.
Abdul, who vouched for an installation capacity of over a million meters for her company cited that specifically with IE, they are supposed to install about 10,000 meters on month-on-month basis on an average.
She advanced that the speed of installation would be pretty much dependent on how customers request for meters on the online platform, as they can only be metered upon payment.
In her remarks, the Chief Operating Officer (COO), of Ikeja Electric, Fokake Soetan noted that the forum was important because they realised a lot of people didn’t know how to access meter under the scheme, thus necessitating the need to come down to the customers’ level to show them the process of registration to obtain a meter.
She described the four processes as know your customer, (KYC), survey, payment, and then customer metering, adding that “we also wanted to share some of the credit arrangements our MAP has arranged for easy payment through loans”.
According to her the numbers of people who signed to be metered changes every day, but at least there are about 50,000 people that have started the process online and a third of such people have been installed already. Meanwhile, some residents also urged IE to find other ways to indulge customers who are not technologically savvy in the process.