The Minister of State Power, Mr. Goddy Jedy Agba, has disclosed that importers of electricity meters would no longer pay any duty as Federal Government ramp up move to meter all electricity consumers in the country in the next six months.
With majority of consumers billed under the controversial estimated billing method, the Minister said government was determined to ensure that consumers are billed according to their consumption.
Agba stated this shortly after an inspection visit to the Calabar Power Plant owned by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company of Nigeria (NDPHC).
He stressed that it was important to have all electricity consumers in the country metered to avoid the challenge posed by estimated billing method, which he described as arbitrary.
He expressed satisfaction at the facilities at the Calabar Power Plant, saying government was determined to ensure that the power produced at the station is evacuated and made available to consumers.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel and by end of this year, there will be more electricity supply to Calabar. On metering, government has insisted that all consumers must be provided with meters.
“Government has therefore approved that meters should be brought into the country free of charge. No more duty on meters. The ones in the port now are going to be cleared because we cannot afford to have meters in the port for two years, three years, no. Meters will be free for importers.
“In a short while everything will ok. Once you meter, people are prepared to pay for what they consume but now people are charged for what they did not consume, it is arbitrary charges as it were. In about six months all will be cleared”, he added.
Also speaking to journalists after the inspection, the Managing Director/CEO of NDPHC, Mr. Chiedu Ugbo said the company is working with the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) to clear the bottlenecks on the supply lines to boost supply to Calabar.
“We are working together to ensure that there is 24/7 supply to Calabar. There is electricity here; all that is required is the connection. We have 132kv transmission line to the sub-station. It is a network challenge and from there we are working with PHEDC, we are tracing where the bottlenecks are, we are clearing the network issue to ensure that people have electricity in Calabar”, he explained.
He pointed out that the power generated by the plant “is of no use if it is stranded here”, noting that even though the company was not in charge of the distribution end, it was working with PHEDC to ensure that challenges at the distribution end are addressed.
Speaking also, an official of PHEDC, Mr. Kingsley Achi said the company has signed a Power Purchase Agreement with NDPHC for the purchase of 100mega watts of power to boost supply to the area.
He disclosed that the companies are waiting for the approval from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
He expressed optimism that everything will be sorted out soon to ensure the take off of the first phase by December this year.
He explained that part of the deal is to ensure that all consumers are metered, noting that customers must realize that “electricity is a business that needs to be paid for”.