The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) says it is not selling to customers, meters provided free to electricity users by the Federal Government.
PHED’s Acting Manager of Corporate Communications, Mrs Chioma Aninwe, disclosed this in a statement in Port Harcourt on Monday.
The Federal Government had in October 2020 introduced the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), to eliminate arbitrary estimated bills that were given to unmetered customers by Distribution Companies (Discos).
Through the scheme, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) provided financing support to the Discos for the procurement of meters for customers from local meter manufacturers.
Aninwe disclosed in the statement that “Our attention has been drawn to a publication alleging that PHED is directly involved in the sale of meters to customers under the NMMP.
“PHED management is disturbed by such a fallacious story which is intended to misinform and deceive customers in our franchise area.
“The company decided to react to the allegations for the sake of stating the facts to members of the public that may have been deceived by the publication,” she said.
Aninwe explained that the NMMP was inaugurated on Nov. 9, 2020 with 79,100 units of meter earmarked for PHED by the Federal Government for the phase zero take-off of the scheme.
“PHED’s Managing Director, Dr Henry Ajagbawa at the inauguration ceremony revealed that the meters under the NMMP were free.
“Ajagbawa stated that the 79,100 units allotted to PHED for the phase zero would not go round to every customer, as the company had over 850,000 metering gaps in its franchise area.
“Thereafter, the company embarked on sensitisation of customers through different electronic, print and social media platforms to educate customers about the NMMP scheme.
“So, presently, unmetered customers in our franchise areas are being metered under the NMMP in line with the Federal Government’s approved schedule,” she clarified.
The PHED spokesperson said that contrary to the allegations, the company had not received any official complaint from its customers on illegal sale of NMMP meters.
She pointed out that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had recently informed Nigerians that two metering schemes – the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) and NMMP – would run concurrently.
According to her, the author of the publication misconstrued the framework of the MAP – where meters are purchased by customers in accordance with the directives of NERC on NMMP scheme.
“So, at no time did PHED give any account number to customers to pay for meters as alleged in the publication.
“Also, the author’s claim of his invitation to a ‘meter launch ceremony’ by management of PHED for whatever reason, is fictitious and a mere figment of his imagination,” Aninwe said.
Recall that PHED distributes electricity to users in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers states under its franchise area.