The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), on Thursday, commenced distribution of smart prepaid meters to customers under its franchise in Ogun.
The Head, Metering, IBEDC, Mr Adewale Obajemu, who launched the programme at Ota, said that the Federal Government planned to distribute one million meters to unmetered electricity customers across the country in the phase zero of the scheme.
Obajemu added that the distribution would be made by the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos), adding that IBEDC would distribute 104,000 of the meters to customers in its franchise.
He explained that the meters were entirely free of charge and pleaded with the customers not to pay anyone for installation.
Obajemu said that IBEDC had partitioned the entire Ogun area into different groups and that every area would be covered.
He added that the process had been carefully planned, adding that nobody would be able to influence it to his/her advantage.
The IBEDC chief, therefore, appealed to customers to exercise patience, adding that every area targetted under the phase zero would have been covered by the end of March.
“This is phase zero of the programme, which is like testing the grounds. We will soon move to phase one.
“We have about 350,000 customers in Ogun but a good number of them had earlier been metered.
“We will ensure that the process is transparent and sincere to enhance the cooperation of the people,” he said.
Obajemu explained that the meters would be installed, notwithstanding the outstanding bill of any customer.
He, however, stated that customers with outstanding bills would be expected to contact the firm not later than 30 days after installation to discuss such bills, failure of which, he said, such outstanding would be factored into subsequent energy purchases.
The IBEDC official also explained that customer’s Bank Verification Number (BVN) would be required before installation “for accounting purpose”.
Obajemu stressed that customers must ensure that their service cables were up to standard, saying that it must be, at least, 16 mm and should not extend into the ceiling to prevent tampering.
He warned that meters must only be serviced by technicians of IBDEC and not just any power engineer.
“If you have any issue with the meter, please contact our customer care numbers or our office closest to you.
“If anybody should work on the meter, that will amount to tampering and such customers will face the full wrath of the law.
“Please note that the meters have in-built security seals and tampering sensing devices to detect tampering,” he said.
Mr Segun Daodu, the Chairman of Ifesowapo Community Development Association (CDA), where the programme was launched, commended the federal government for the initiative.
Daodu, who addressed journalists shortly after the programme, expressed optimism that the development would bring an end to the challenges associated with estimated billings.
He assured that the community, through its WhatsApp platform, would continue to educate and dissuade its members from tampering with the meters after installation.