Mixed feelings about prepayment meters in Nigeria


Lagos, Nigeria — (METERING.COM) — January 11, 2008 – Residents in the district of Ile-Ife in Nigeria have recently received prepayment (pay-as-you-go) meters – but their reactions to the new meters has been mixed.

The meters have been supplied free of charge to those customers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) who pay their bills regularly. The company is also encouraging those customers who are in arrears with their bills to apply for a prepaid meter, saying that their debts could be recovered over time. This is made possible by a portion of the sum spent on the power top-up smart card being used to offset the debt.

Some PHCN customers have welcomed the introduction of the new meters, saying they enable them to manage their electricity use more efficiently. They have also pointed out that the system is similar to that used by mobile phone operators who offer a prepay service, and they appreciate the fact that these services prevent them from getting into debt. In addition those in favor believe they will be spared attempts on the part of PHCN staff to extort money from them.

But not all consumers are as positive, with some saying that tenants will not be willing to buy smart cards to top up a meter that serves several households. Those against the system also believe that the PHCN has introduced it as a means of getting more money from customers.

But the meters are in Nigeria to stay, and the majority of users appear to have accepted this fact.