Customers oppose Discos’ plan to recover prepaid meters

Bisola David
Bisola David
Customers oppose Discos' plan to recover prepaid meters

Customers of power distribution firms are unhappy with their attempts to reclaim prepaid meters for an update.

According to The Punch, recently, the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company notified its clients via Facebook that it will start collecting a set of pre-paid meters for upgrading.

The Disco’s publication stated,  “Dear esteemed customers. Kindly be informed that as part of the ongoing meter upgrading, we will be retrieving from our customers, prepaid meters with meter numbers 62417, 62418…and some meter no, starting with 6321…This is to enable us to upgrade.

“To retrieve the meters, our field staff will go to the affected customers’ properties.”

The company added that old tokens wouldn’t be removed from the meters during the upgrading process and that the meter would be returned after it was finished.

Customers, however, weren’t pleased with the information.

A Disco client, Olatinwo Multimedia, suggested that codes be given out instead. He said: “That is absurd. A link where the meter codes will be posted for updates should be provided. Removing pre-paid meters that have already been installed is absurd and unachievable. He asked, “Who does that?

A different consumer, Olaanipekun Henrym, cautioned IBEDC employees “not to come near” his residence.

Nobody should approach my home because you folks are unreliable. Mine is 62418, but nobody will take it away for an upgrade. I know any attempt to take it away, it won’t be returned in a year,” he said.

The spokesperson for IBEDC, Adebusolami Tunwase, said that clients whose meters would be recovered would be switched over to post-paid meters during that time.

“The details are plain to see. The affected meter series are listed, and it is to upgrade the software of meters that are rejecting upgrade codes.

“They will be installed with post-paid meters, which for that time period need payment of a bill. The meters will be given back as soon as the upgrade is finished. And, as you’re aware, the upgrade will last until November,” she added.

A metering expert, Sesan Okunade, said that the update supplied by IBEDC was a result of changes mandated by the STS compliance meter in the power sector.

“What this implies is for the TID rollover. Each of the smart meters that we have that is compliant with the STS is expected to roll over by the 24th of November 2024 to zero, and what that implies is that if you do not upgrade, it may no longer be active.

“So, normally, each Disco would generate a key change token for each customer when they made purchases, but I’m confident that this class of meters with these precise numbers is specific to a particular meter supplier, which is suffering a defect. They could have to complete it offline and perhaps bring them to their offices.

“If other discos have used this supplier before, they might do the same given that there were so many various types of meters on the market when those meters were bought, the Discos themselves were unaware. They learned about it, say, at the end of last year. In order to upgrade offline, the meter supplier must have issued upgrade codes,” he said.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s Spokesperson, Usman Arabi, said the Commission would continue to ensure that the Discos’ businesses are conducted in a manner that favours not just the electricity market, but also the consumers.

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