Reps urges investigation of DISCOS over substandard prepaid metres

OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives on Wednesday, called on the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to investigate the quality of prepaid metres being installed by Distribution Companies (DISCOs).

The House also urged the ministry to phase out the meters if they did not meet up with the standard requirements with a view to protecting the interests of electricity consumers.

The House also resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to look into the matter for timely intervention.

This followed a motion sponsored by Mr. Adedapo Lam-Adesina (APC, Oyo)) on the “need to curb excessive electricity charges being levied on consumers by Distribution Companies (DISCOS) through prepaid meters.’’

Mr. Lam-Adesina said that the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) introduced the electronic prepaid meters in 2007 to enable consumers have value for money they were paying for services.

He added that the unbundling of PHCN in 2013 led to the emergence of eleven DISCOS and six Electricity Generating Companies (GENCOs).

The lawmaker emphasised that the first set of prepaid meters installed at residential houses by the defunct PHCN which were inherited by the Distribution Companies satisfied the yearnings of consumers.

He said: “In June 2016, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) issued a directive to Distribution Companies that all customers must be metered by Nov. 30, 2016.

“But the deadline was later extended to March 1, 2017 after consideration.”

Lam-Adesina explained that the Distribution Companies, in an effort to meet up with the deadline, commenced installation of new set of prepaid meters which did not satisfy the expectations of electricity consumers in the country.

He however, expressed concern that the consumers were now groaning over the rate at which the newly installed MOJEC prepaid meters gobbled up their units when compared to the old prepaid meters installed by the defunct PHCN.

The lawmaker also expressed worry that many consumers across the country had paid for the prepaid meters for a long period of time, but were yet to be metered by the companies.

This he said had subjected them to outrageous estimated billing regime.

The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.

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