Ikeja Electric has warned customers not to expect any free meter now except those provided by the Federal Government under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).
The DisCo said this during the Town Hall meeting it organised for its customers at Excellence Hotel, Ogba, Ikeja Lagos.
Speaking during the questions and answers session of the event, its Head, Media/ External Relations, Mr Akinola Ayeni, told the customers that consumers have to apply for prepaid meters and be ready to pay for them immediately they are given a code for payment.
“Free meter scheme is a Federal Government programme. We don’t have free prepaid meter for now. If you want meter, you have to apply for it and pay. Those who registered for prepaid meters will be attended to first. You have to register first. It is first come; first serve.
“Also you have to be ready to pay once you register and you are given a code for payment. Those who have codes means meters have been assigned to them waiting for collection after payment. If you don’t pay immediately, you are denying others from getting the meter you have tied down.”
He also said customers should not apply for payment code if they are not ready to pay. ”Don’t apply for code for payment when you don’t have the money to pay immediately because you are usually given code when your meter is ready for collection,” Ayeni warned. Asked if it will be just for some customers to get free meters, while others pay for them, he said customers may get refund through energy supplied.
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“Customers who paid for prepaid meters may get refund later when the Federal Government free meter scheme is concluded through energy refund. You will be supplied energy in exchange for money paid for the meters,” he explained.
Recall the Federal Government-funded NMMP started in 2020. It is an initiative of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in conjunction with the Presidential Power Task Force.
The initiative was launched in August 2020 to allow the Central Bank of Nigeria,CBN fund the acquisition of meters on behalf of DisCos by paying directly to the Meter Asset Providers (MAPs). The free metering programme commenced with the Phase 0 where one million meters were supposed to have been distributed free to electricity consumers nation wide.
The programme was slated to commence in August this year but this had been put on hold following allegations of fraud by the CBN against some of MAPs.
The CBN had in a suit, requested commercial banks to restrict the account of 10 companies that received power sector intervention funds under the NMMP for 180 days pending the outcome of its investigation.
It asked the Federal High Court in Lokoja, Kogi State, to freeze accounts belonging to 157 MAPs for allegedly diverting funds meant for the procurement of prepaid meters.