Sabrud Consortium Nig Ltd was awarded the contract by the Federal Government to install prepayment meters in Enugu Electricity Distribution Company of PHCN on 18th October, 2006. The contract includes installation of prepayment meters, installation of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) equipment for the vending, and its administration. The signatory also includes, after sales services such as customer support, training of PHCN staff, and electricity consumers.
By virtue of this contract, all electromechanical (analogue) meters that meet the basic requirement will be replaced with the electronic (digital) prepayment meter.
Why Prepayment Metering Project?
The massive installation of modern accurate meters is of paramount importance for the zone to achieve increased revenue, automate the customer disconnection/reconnection process and enhance customer services. The following points are noteworthy and highlights the prevailing problems, why prepayment metering project was awarded:
Customer response - 38%
Out of the a total customer population of 560,000 an average of 211,660 pay their monthly electricity bills. This is due to a number of factors including the fact that customers are unwilling to pay for estimated bills particularly when they feel the estimate is disproportionately high.
Read Customers - 23%
A monthly average of 128,800 customers are billed based on actual meter readings. This low figure read is attributed to the scale of the meter reading challenges in terms of logistics as well as organizational resources.
Estimated Customers - 50%
Half of all the customers are estimated on a monthly basis. This huge figure is due to the fact that no resources have been mobilized to meet the daunting logistical challenge of meter reading and bill distribution.
Direct connections - 27%
More than a quarter of all the customers are connected to the grid but do not have meters. While a significant portion have paid for meters and are awaiting the installation of meters, which the response is quite discouraging.
Many electricity users in Nigeria use various means to bypass the meters. Some Customers open meter terminal covers and tamper with the meter wiring, some open meter face plates and tamper with the meter breaking magnets or register gears, measuring elements or other moving parts, while some Customer reverses the supply and load wires. Some Customer go as far as bridging the meter by tapping power off the service cable.
Radical Change to the Billing Cycle
The challenges of metering department rendering services to a huge number of customers within a 24 month period also presents an unprecedented opportunity to implement a radical billing model cycle.
The Impacts Summarized
The above problems recorded by the use of electromechanical meter have resulted to insufficient electricity availability, poor energy management, poor financial management and auditing.
Advantages of Prepayment Metering
There are a number of reasons why a Utility may consider installing a prepayment metering system. Prepayment metering offers the following advantages:
» Improved customer service
» Payment is up front (improved Utility cash flow)
» No meter readers required (used in other roles)
» No account posting or additional billing system required
» Elimination of bad debts
» Elimination of disconnection and reconnection fees
» Complete revenue management
» Fraud control
» Debt collection
» Collection of monthly rates or standing charges
» Ease of installation
» Cost effective
» Time Of Use (TOU) tariffs
» No requirement for the Utility to hold consumer's keys
» No need to access the consumer's property (particularly so for "split" meter installations)
» Elimination of inaccurate meter readings
» Improved customer service is obtained as prepayment offers
the customer the following advantages:
» Budget management
» Control of energy usage
» Convenience of purchase (at the time and place that suits the consumer)
» No cost for disconnection/reconnection and no waiting for reconnection
» No deposits
» Ability to pay back debts
Capital Redemption and Cost Benefit Analysed
» Saving on annual meter reading cost
» Saving on annual stationery, billing & bill distribution
» Improved annual revenue generation
» Improved Power distribution.
» Reduction of Energy theft by utilizing split metering
» Reduction in Power consumption as customers are now conscious of their consumption
Benefits to the Customer
The prepayment meter technology also provides significant benefits to the customer. Highlighting these benefits will be central to the marketing and promotional strategy. They include:
» Personal management of household electricity budget
» No crazy bills
» No estimated billing
» Same Tariff as before
» Pay As You Consume (PAYC)
» Management of energy consumption
» Convenience of purchase (24/7 hours)
» No disconnection / reconnection fees or trauma
» No billing discrepancies
» No late or inconsistent bill deliveries
» No credit references required to open an account
» No deposits
» Enhanced privacy (no need to access consumers premises)
The entire populace is agitating for improvement in the power supply. The federal government in a bid to satisfy the citizenry had proposed the use of prepayment meters, which today is being used in some areas of the zone. Our promise is that the eligible customers within the zone will be using prepayments meters within a space of two years.
PPM Meters in Deployment
We install two categories of Prepayment meters according to customer's classification.
Category A – Single Phase and
Category B – Three Phase
The type of meter we currently deploy is the Split meter type, with the measuring element (known as the Metering Unit), and the customer interface unit (known as the Monitor Unit) separate.
Presently, Smart Card and Keypad transfer technologies will be used. Real time or online technology will soon be incorporated into the system.