Abuja residents to get pre-paid meters soon’

by Guardian

THE Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) yesterday said all its customers within Abuja and other states would soon get pre-paid meters under its massive roll-out plan.

Besides, to ensure a fasten redress, the firm yesterday inaugurated a modern call centre in Abuja. It also unveiled plans to create about 300 vending points before the end of December to cater for its many customers.

Managing Director of AEDC, Mr. Neil Croucher, who stated this at the official flag-off of third party vending of electricity and commissioning of the company’s state-of-the-art customer care centre, said that every electricity customer deserves a meter.

Croucher stressed that 100,000 meters would be rolled out every year for the next few years to bridge the shortfall, stressing that only 50 per cent of the company’s customers had meters.

He noted: “We recognised when we came at the earlier stage that customer care and customer service was very poor in the electricity sector, and also with the AEDC. We needed to improve that, but before we did that, we needed to improve the systems that underpin any such electricity organisation. So, we have replaced our billing and vending systems. We have put in IT and management information systems. With that now having being commissioned, the next stage was to roll out vending to make sure that customers have much easier access to purchase electricity.

“Of course, as we roll out hundreds of meters over the coming years, it is important that as we do that, we also must create the convenience so that customers can easily buy their electricity. We want to create many platforms for them to buy electricity, either through via conventional means or alternatively by using banks,
by using mobile phones or Internet. So, these are all the platforms that we are now creating. The commissioning here today is of a service centre, a modern customer care service centre, which is linked to our IT systems, the back office. Once a customer’s query or complaint is received, it immediately goes through the system to the back office, and the back office would attend to that in a very efficient and prompt manner.

“That is one aspect of today’s commissioning. The second aspect is the super vending. This is where we have partnered with others who would roll out many pay-points where customers would be able to go and purchase electricity. We have heard them say today that they would be rolling out hundreds of such pay-points at many locations. They are portable devices and can go to many inaccessible areas to create convenience for our customers, especially in the far outline areas. This is part of our efforts to modernise the company and create better access and better customer service.”

Stressing that meters were key to the transformation of electricity in Nigeria, he noted: “At the moment, less than half of our customers have meters. That is an unacceptable situation. We believe that it is the right of every customer to be metered for the electricity that they consume. But in order to roll out meters, you need a solid foundation. It would have been incorrect and “impracticable to roll out meters until we modernise the vending and billing systems, which we previously had in place. It is a precursor that we modernise the system. Now, the platform is there for us to roll out meters in an aggressive way.

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