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Locals, Jos DisCo disagree over prepaid meters

Since about four weeks ago when the Jos Electricity Distribution Company (Jos DisCo) began mounting compulsory prepaid meters for communities in Jos, the Plateau State…

Since about four weeks ago when the Jos Electricity Distribution Company (Jos DisCo) began mounting compulsory prepaid meters for communities in Jos, the Plateau State capital, several hitches, misunderstanding and infighting have been emanating.

The houses which had hitherto been on flat electricity billing are now trying to adjust to the new prepaid meters. In effect, the feeling of doubt and uncertainty has been building in the people.

In the process of trying to get used to it, many people have lamented several hiccups/hitches, poor enlightenment on the usage, power outages, among others.

Chief among the complaints is that the prepaid meters were installed for each compound/house rather than each room/household/flat.

The implication of this, according to the consumers, is that different people use different electrical appliances which consume power more than others.

A former Chairman of Riverside community in Jos, Nuhu Anon, said the prepaid meter installation was a welcome idea but that much should be done to address the prevailing attendant hitches.

He said the meters were only mounted for those who did not have them and were on monthly estimated billing, adding that since the installation of the meters, there had not been stable power supply.

Mr Anon added that the installation had been ongoing for about two weeks now, and that before the meters were fully installed in the area, he was assured that all the hitches would be addressed.

He advised houses without the meters to install one because unlike the initial fear of its cost and other believed inconveniences, it would be to their advantage in the long run.

He likened the prepaid metering system to mobile phone where one consumed what was paid for, unlike the estimated billing where one sometimes paid for what they never consumed regardless of whether there was electricity supply within that period or not.

A resident of Tudun Wada, Jos, Alheri Peter, said in their compound, they were using the estimated billing before and that they usually paid about N5000, and sometimes more to recharge monthly.

But now, she said they had only recharged the meter with N1,500 for starters, but were yet to fully determine its outcome or advantage/disadvantage because since they recharged they hardly had light.

In her own view, Victoria Yohanna said if the installation of the new prepaid meters would cause any form of disharmony in the communities, the company should better return to the former status quo.

She advised that the meters should be installed for those who demanded for it and not those who did not.

A resident of Miango Road in Jos, James, said he knew nothing about it and that he travelled about three weeks ago only to be called by other tenants in his compound that a prepaid meter had been installed for them, and that they required money to do capturing and recharge it whenever it finished.

Reacting, Head of Communication, Jos DisCo, Friday Adakole Elijah, explained that in metering houses, the company dealt with the landlords and not tenants, and that it was up to the landlords and tenants to have an understanding on how to utilise their energy.

According to Adakole, people can use any electrical appliance with the prepaid meter only that heavy electrical appliances might consume more energy.

He, therefore, advised people to always put off their electrical appliances whenever leaving their homes because apart from the energy running and the meter reading in their absence, it was also unsafe and risky.

With respect to enlightenment, he said there was adequate enlightenment, including broadcast jingles, press releases and face-to-face enlightenment, adding that the Jos DisCo was topmost in terms of enlightenment and good human relations.

 

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