Crazy billing: 8 banks vie for N17.5bn meter loan deals

Eight commercial banks in Nigeria have put their hats in the ring for N17.5 billion pre-paid meter supply loan deals.

The loans, investigation by New Telegraph last weekend showed, cover meter supply for just one business unit in one of the 11 distribution companies in the country, Ikeja Electric.

The banks, further checks showed, include United Bank for Africa (UBA), Zenith Bank, Sterling bank, Keystone Bank, and Unity Bank. Others are First Bank, Keystone bank, Polaris Bank, and WEMA Bank.

Managing Director of Mojec International, Chantelle Abudu, confirmed that her company and the banks had struck deals with Ikeja Electric to offer loans to 450,000 customers who are willing to secure the meters.

Mojec, she said, was the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) that will be metering customers for IE in Shomolu business unit, Lagos.

Single phase meter, Abudu continued, costs N38,350 each while the three-phase meter goes for N70,350 each inclusive of Value Added Tax (VAT).

“The government says the meters should be connected in 10 days after payment but this our partnership with Ikeja will make sure that you get metered in less than 8 days. We just want to make sure that in two to three days you get your meters sharp sharp,” Abudu stressed.

A senior personnel with Wema Bank, Abiola Afolayan, confirmed that his bank and others would offer loans for customers who desire to obtain meters.

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At the cost of N38,350 each the banks will provide N17.5 billio for the 450, 000 meters offer, checks by this newspaper showed. The aforementioned lenders like Wema, Afolayan said, were ready to provide the funds.

“We have different channels. Number one, you work into any of our banks branches and make payments. The banks also provide channels like outlet by alert and upon confirmation of customers’ credit worthiness/value, loans will be made available,” he said.

This, he added, was part of efforts to make estimated billing a thin of the past. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Electricity Market Operator has issued a second suspension order to Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO), pulling it off the electricity market for not paying the May 2019 energy invoice in full.

Head of the Market Operator (MO), Engr. Edmund Amaobi Eje, who declared this in a document sighted by this newspaper, added that the default attracted the suspension which came into force in line with the market conditions/market participation agreements.

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The MO had suspended Ikeja, Eko, Enugu and Port Harcourt for similar default in barely two months.

Kano DisCo was earlier suspended in late July through an order, TCN/ISO/MO/2019/005, for not posting security deposit to pay for ancillary services involved in the wheeling of bulk electricity to its networks for onward supply to customers.

KEDCO’s franchise area covers Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states. Bulk power is also transmitted to Niger Republic through the franchise area on behalf of the Federal Government.

On the current suspension, the MO which is a section of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), said, “KEDCO refused to pay its May 2019 invoice in full, thereby breaching Section 45.3.1 (d) of the Market Rules.”

It said KEDCO was notified of the default in line with the provisions of the Rule and that it was expected that the DisCo would respond and remedy the default within five days or two business days after it issued the suspension notice to it on July 29, 2019.

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“KEDCO did not respond to the ‘Notice of Intent to Issue Suspension Order (NIISO/2019/007)’ dated July 29, 2019 within the five days or two business days stipulated by the Market Rules,” the MO said.

The order allows the Transmission Service Provider (TSP), another section of TCN to disconnect some facilities of KEDCO as a punitive measure until the default is remedied and that is running concurrently with the previous suspension.

“The orders will be lifted at the same time the events of default are completely remedied,” Eje said in the notification.

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