Prepaid Meter: Major Pains For Nigerians

Nigeria News takes a look at the unavailability of prepaid meter as DISCOS continue to give exorbitant bills to consumers.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has urged Nigerians not to pay electricity bill unless they are provided with the prepaid meter by the various Distribution Companies.

DISCOS have failed in this area and the only thing they do now is metering the transformers and share the bill among all the consumers connected to it.  

Electricity consumers groan under excessive bills by the Distribution Companies. Nigerians want light but they are being exploited daily because the government has failed to regulate the sector effectively.

I remain unimpressed with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration on power generation, distribution and sales.

I see excitement each time pictures of one project scheduled to be completed in three, four years are published in the pages of newspapers. I don’t need any clairvoyance to know those projects will miss their deadlines several, several times. Why are we so excited by these when there are low hanging fruits that can bring quick, massive change?

Take prepaid meters for example. Nigerians need it in millions. If the Federal Government can manufacture it in millions, give it out and deduct the money as people buy credits, it will be paid for in due time.

A meter currently sells for about 30, 000. Give people option to offset this between one to five years and I’m sure about 60 to 70 per cent of Nigerian adults can afford that.

The prepaid meter is a major pain for millions of Nigerians. Adopting this solution or any other will not only take away that pain, it will create jobs, it will bring transparency to billings and DISCOS can plan better base on realistic revenues.

But we have left leprosy untreated, chasing cure for ringworm and we are excited. We have clothing problems. I’m sure half of what Lagos residents wear daily is from a bend down select market. That’s a huge market that requires, in my view, a simple solution.

We have food problems. With all the fantastic statistics being reeled out in the agricultural sector, the monthly food bill is not coming down.

Or even take internet marketing where billions of dollars exchange hands daily, home-based Nigerians are legally shut out of this market because the dominant payment platform, PayPal, only allows us to spend, not to receive. Home-based Nigerian internet marketers have to go through a hack.

When I asked PayPal for the reason, I was told it’s due to Nigerian legislation. I don’t know to what extent this is true but if it is, what a hell. A legislation is shortchanging millions of destinies and a railway project is our priority. Which is easier: to amend these legislations in three months or complete railways in three years?

With the way successive governments have been promising Nigerians, there is no hope in the nearest future that the least issue of the prepaid meter will be solved soon.

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