The Nigerian meter issue has been an insignificant topic for a very long time, when Nigerians got use to the only meter they have ever known. Not until the PHCN, then NEPA, decided to convert the post paid meters to the prepaid in the early 2000, giving Nigerians a taste of transparency in their power usage. Even though the power holding company then, did it to curb the amount of illegal happenings between power company and power consumers, they didn’t know that they were doing the general public a favour by exposing them to a better way of handling and monitoring the true reading of their electric bills.
Initially, Nigerians repelled the idea of change as usual even though what they had, was nothing to write home about. But with series of explanations and tricks to convince them and an eventually threat, Nigerians gave in to the pre paid meter idea, and after installation was done, usage commenced, it immediately became clear that the Power holding was right after all. The new meter makes you conscious of your power usage, and you are in charge of your own bill, with prove and readings for the very first time,” it was indeed better than the previous one.” Nigerians screamed in joy, even though not everyone loved it as much.
But since everything in life comes with its good and bad sides, it didn’t take long for the bad side of this meter to show up. 15 years later, the same power holding company (even though their name changed), noticed that their consumers have found a way of using power without it reading on their meter (direct connection).
Now doing the unthinkable, the power authority is now going back to their vomit, pushing to have their consumers change back to the primitive post paid meter, even going as far as trying to impose it on learned citizens of Nigeria, who now more than anything, know their rights. They tried it with the prominent residents of Federal Low Cost housing estate of Jos Plateau state, who were accused of all doing the illegal connection, but the residents had too many prominent men and women, even the current Governor was and still is a resident of the Estate, even as he occupies the Government house. Last year, The Estate sued PHCN, and surprisingly won. They sure knew their right, as The court stopped them from changing the meters back to post paid. This gave other residents in the state and its surrounding the go ahead to vehemently reject the new meter. The PHCN Couldn’t believe how much smarter, the world had gotten from the early 2000s.
THE PROBLEM WITH POST PAID METERS….
I rev toy noticed that the PHCN on its own, like 15 years ago, has no way of keeping record of the exact amount of energy individual consumers use. Isn’t this the most unbelievable thing to hear in 2018.?
So if the people had agreed to the meter change again, it would have been the exact same experience like they had in the years before the 2000? They haven’t had anything changed or improved. They just wanted to keep shifting from on meter to the other when they wanted it, thinking people don’t know their left from their right. They have been surprised at the awakening call from Nigerians themselves.
Well, this company keeps taking the notion of a non functional, non growing, non improving, non impressing, non accountable to a new level. Have you tried calling PHCN costumer care line? Let me save you the stress Dear Nigerians, you won’t reach anyone. The recorded lady keeps reading out options to you, until you change your mind and end the call.
I called them to complain heavily when they started bringing gauge sums of bills to us for our pumping machine, which happen to be running on a post paid meter. The bill was unbelievably high, that I decided to investigate it. They brought us 12 thousand Naira a month for pumping water for the six flats in the building, and that was considered ok, untill four tenants moved out, leaving only two families, and we still got the same 12 thousand Naira as bills. We paid it 24 thousand Naira for 2 months, and started to Complain to them, and was dumbfounded, when we came home one afternoon, five weeks after making the 24 thousand Naira which was meant to be for two months, only to see that they have left another bill with the security guy. We checked it, and were dumbfounded to see the sum of 81 thousand Naira as the bill for 5 weeks. Even if we were a cash wash company, or a water producing company, we won’t use 81 thousand Naira worth of water for five weeks.
I went to investigate this preposterousness and was told that they actually take the total readings from a general neighbourhood transformer, and share the bills the way they choose to the building that are connected to that particular Transformer without know who used what. Which means that if you were conservative with power usage for the whole month, you will still be asked to pay a huge sum of money as your bill. Mind you, the meter was just for pumping water for the building, as every apartment had its own pre paid meter for personal use. At this point, my shock knew no bound.
First of all, how did they even come to that as the best solution for the individuals of different households? Didn’t it occur to you that it is incredibly wrong to spread bills indiscriminately to people who don’t live togther. What if a manufacturing company is situated on that neighbourhood (like in my case), and the bills from the transformer is then spread across the building connect to the it, does that mean that the manufacturing company will have its neighboring buildings pay its bills? This is by primitive and unbelievable. People are made to pay for the incompetence of the power holding company from their own pocket. They are even at liberty to add any amount the want, to the bills they are bringing to you. So just because you don’t want to have shortage while accounting at the end of the month, you make innocent people pay for your company to keep running smoothly. This is incredibly disturbing.
So for everyone using a post paid meter in Nigerian, I am sorry to let you know that you are seriously being exploited by the power holding company on a daily basis.