PHCN: BENEFITS OF THE NEW PREPAYMENT METERS
PHCN (Power Holding Company of Nigeria), the only electric power utility company in Nigeria is currently deploying energy prepayment meters in Nigeria. These Electronic meters are intended to replace the old post-payment meters. In this document we will look at some benefits of this new prepayment meters first to PHCN and then to average electric power consumers in Nigeria.
BENEFITS TO PHCN
The new energy prepayment meters if well handled by PHCN will increase her revenue. First, since new meters are prepayment meters it will reduce the overhead that usually characterize house-to-house recovery of revenue as was almost the case in the past. This new energy metering system has some anti tamper facilities that will largely discourage meter tampering by Nigerian consumers.
PHCN will also reduce its administrative overhead when this new energy prepayment meters are fully deployed in most parts of Nigeria. Because this new metering system is Electronic, most of the steps required in administering it can be automated. This will reduce staff requirement and as a result reduce staff overhead. As a result, PHCN will free more cash for investment in deployment of new power plants that will answer the current problems of load shedding in Nigeria.
Another benefit of these new energy prepayment meters to PHCN is that it will enable her to determine the actual energy demand in Nigeria. This is because most of her consumers will now be conscious of the amount of energy consumed.
The new prepayment meters will reduce corruption within PHCN ranks. Since customers will pay their bills upfront, the era of collecting bribe to connect defaulting customers is gradually ending. This new energy meters have capability of automatically disconnecting consumers once they run out of energy credit.
PHCN will also increase customer trust with the deployment of these new prepayment meters. Since metering and billing are automated, customers will be given a fair bill. This will also make energy consumers in Nigeria more eager to pay their bills. One reason that some Consumers give for not paying their electric bills is that the billing is not fair. They complain that PHCN supply very little power only to bring huge estimated bills at month end.
An Electronic electrical energy prepayment meter will only bill consumers for actual electric power consumed. This is fair enough for most Nigerian energy consumers.
Another spin-off of these new energy prepayment meters for PHCN is that the new meter will free her to concentrate on her major job of building new power plants with adjoining transmission and distribution lines. This will no doubt boost power supply in Nigeria. This step will be necessary for PHCN, as her revenue will only be proportional to the actual energy delivered to consumers. The days of estimated billing is gradually ending.
All these are bound to boost revenue for PHCN, but what about you the electric energy consumer?
BENEFITS TO ENERGY CONSUMERS
The first obvious benefit of these new energy prepayment meters to energy consumers is fair billing. Energy consumers in Nigeria have always complained about the unfair billing method used by power holding company of Nigeria. PHCN in most part used estimated billing; this although it reduces the workload on PHCN produces very unrealistic bills for consumers.
Customers were sent bills by the PHCN, without any regard for actual energy consumed. However, with these new energy prepayment meters energy consumers in Nigeria will only pay for actual energy consumed.
The second benefit of this prepayment meter to the consumer is control. Energy consumers can now control their energy consumption. If you find yourself using more energy, you can decide on what to cutout in order to reduce your energy consumption.
Cases of meter theft is bound to reduce, this is because each prepayment meter is tied to a smartcard, which means that a stolen prepayment meter will be useless without the smart card. Every prepayment meter has a unique identification number that can be tracked electronically. Therefore, consumers can be sure of meter security.
Another great benefit of this electrical energy prepayment meters on Nigerian energy consumer is its potential for reliable power supply. The revenue of PHCN will be proportional to actual energy used by her consumers. This will no doubt force power holding to deploy more power capacity in order to boost revenue generation. This will only increase PHCN’s reliability, which is good for consumers.
The new energy prepayment meter will no doubt have its challenges for both PHCN and the Nigerian energy consumer but at the end of the day, the pros will outweigh the cons.
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