Tampering slows rollout of prepayment meters


Lagos, Nigeria — (METERING.COM) — February 12, 2008 – The rollout of prepayment (pay-as-you-go) meters in Nigeria has slowed because some consumers are tampering with them, according to a recent survey carried out by the News Agency of Nigeria. The Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) reported that several consumers have been arrested because they had attempted to bypass their meters, and in one area there has been so much tampering that delivery of the meters has stopped altogether.

A further problem has been caused by non-availability of the meters in some areas, with many residents of Lagos state asking for – and paying for – a prepayment meter, which has yet to be installed.

PHCN staff note that the main advantage of the prepayment meters is that revenue is collected before the energy is consumed. The tariff is also structured in such a way that a small portion of a consumer’s arrears is collected each time that consumer purchases energy. And many consumers themselves welcome the fact that they can keep track of their usage and avoid running up large energy bills.

The location of vending stations was also mentioned by customers questioned during the survey, with some saying that recharge vouchers should be sold everywhere, in the same way as vouchers for cellular phones are. And many noted that they regarded a stable electricity supply as being far more important than the method being introduced to measure consumption.