The management of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) has announced that the electricity distribution company would soon begin the distribution of the federal government procured electronic prepaid meter in Abia state.
This was disclosed by Mr. Ozoezeh Onyebuchi while they appeared before members of Abia State legislative arm in a quasi plenary, after an invitation of summon was extended to them by the leadership of the State Assembly.
Mr. Onyebuchi who is the Network Manager of EEDC Umuahia District appearing alongside other top officials of the company and Mr. Emeka Odoemelam, a Senior Staff of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), told the lawmakers that out of 40, 000 prepaid meters for the southeast region, Abia got 3000 which he stated will be distributed among its customers in Abia soon.
Explaining what the electricity has been able to do to ensure adequate power supply and minimization of excessive electricity billing which many residents of the state found outrageous, Onyebuchi said the company has installed over a thousand distribution substations at the cost of over N350,000,000. 00 (Three Hundred and Fifty Million Naira Only) in the last one year alone, and that installation of the substations was for the company to checkmate estimated billings.
According to him, EEDC has also installed 16,000 meters at the cost of over N800,000,000.00 (Eight Hundred Million Naira Only) in the State, adding that 3,000 meters that are currently being programmed would be shared among 150, 000 active customers in the State in due course.
On the blackout in Ohafia LGA over the last few months, Mr. Onyebuchi said “Ohafia as the third largest commercial city in the State cannot be overlooked.
“The meters are standardized and that the commercial metres are billed from source. He said the procured metres are for homes.
“The metres are from the Federal Government but that it is a kind of loan which the company will pay for later. Metreing has been going on in Umuahia but that it is at minimal.
“The company has installed over a thousand distribution substation metres in the State, and as a matter of fact, in Umuahia District, we have metred over 80% of all our transformers and we are also working with some rural areas even though most of them complain of high bills, but we are working with them to bring down their consumption rate and energy management.
“About donations, we appreciate our Honourable Members here especially the Speaker because he has donated and installed countless number of transformers in his constituency and beyond. These donations depend on the need for the transformers”.
Contributing, Mr. Emeka Odoemelam of NERC said “Since the last few years, this is the first time the commission is standing on the floor of any House of Assembly to listen to their service providers explain to the people what they are doing.
“Last week, we were in Umuahia to take customers complaints and to look at estimates. Once we are done with our field works, we get the level of non-compliance, and necessary sanctions are placed on the Distribution Company.
“I am from Umuahia myself and I can tell you for free that even in my house the approved capping is not followed, but the commission, like I stated earlier, will follow up this logically and where we find them astray, we sanction them accordingly”, he said.
Mr. Odoemelam said a situation where the Honourable Members in carrying out their social responsibilities donated transformers and are still charged extra money by EEDC Is unacceptable. “It is our duty to ensure that customers are not exploited.”
Mr Odoemelam then announced to the amazement of the House that there is a provision in the commission’s regulations which states that once you are contributing any asset to any Distribution Company, that such donation should not be entirely free.
He advised the House to always engage the distribution company anytime they want to donate transformers because there should be some compensation for a donor which is a standard practice.
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“As you donate, you should demand because it is your right to be compensated on the asset you are donating and that is what the Law says”, Mr. Odoemelam concluded.