October 18, 2021

TrustTV

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Why ‘antelope’ prepaid meter persists -FG

The Federal Government has explained why many customers still experience ‘barewa’ prepaid meter in electricity billing in parts of the country, saying consumers were largely to blame for the challenge.

The Managing Director/CEO, Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), Engr. Peter O. Ewesor, gave the explanation on Tuesday in Abuja at the June 2021 Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) Lunch Time Seminar (LTS) with the theme: “Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA): “Roles, Responsibilities, Innovation and Challenges in the Power Sector”.

‘Barewa’, Hausa word for antelope, connotes the complaint of electricity consumers of galloping prepaid meter, seen as worse than the estimated electricity bills.

“There were incidences where some electricity consumers complained of ‘crazy meters’ our investigations showed that there are instances where electricity supply was three hours, but now have 15 to 18 hours, so there are no way customers would not pay more.

“There were also cases where customers forget to switch off their electricity appliances and when power was restored the appliances would work and the meters would run too,” Ewesor said.

He, therefore urged electricity consumers to be conscious of their responsibilities to conserve energy safe costs in electricity usage.

Speaking earlier, the Director General of BPSR, Dasuki Ibrahim Arabi, said that the erratic and unstable electricity supply in Nigeria over the years has adversely affected the growth of industrial, commercial and other productive sectors of the economy.

According to him, the privatization exercise was one of the reform initiatives of the Federal Government to rectify some major challenges confronting the power sector which included inter alia, non-payment of electricity bills by government agencies, private enterprises and many individual households, limited capital for the needed investment in the sector, non-deployment of electricity meters, high right of estimated bills, vandalisation of power sector facilities, gas pipelines and a weak transmission system.

He noted that a number of reforms were initiated to address these challenges considering the vital role of power supply in Socio-Economic and National Development of the country, making it imperative for the Federal Government to undertake some reforms in order to consolidate and strengthen the power sector.

He listed the reforms as National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy (NREEEP-2015), Rural Electricity Strategy Action Plan, Nigeria Power Content Development Policy, Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency Act (NEMSA) 2015, Nigeria Renewable Energy Action Master Plan (NREAP) 2015, Sustainable Energy for All-Action Agenda (SE4ALL-AA) and Power Sector Recovery Plan, among others.