Perhaps, the PHCN blew their trumpet of victory when it came to the decision of having prepaid metre in the nation. She felt quite innovative and achieving for solving a milestone problem the nation has suffered in the power sector. The midwives, our leaders in this sector, felt that have delivered the nations from the pangs of pitiable state of electricity in the nation.

 In corollary, since the advent of prepaid metre, many believed that the manifolds of the problem evident before it arrival would be gone but many are yet to have or share an absolutely positive testimony about it. Like a general writ goes,’’ everything that has an advantage has a disadvantage but what is held rightly justifiable by this is that the advantages should very much outweigh the disadvantages

For me, I go with a proposition that every solution has an omission. Thus, I might as well be omitting something and creating some sort of loopholes in my attempt for solutions so anyone’s idea or contribution to patch-up such is the essence of continuous knowledge and discoveries.

It is of some degree of necessity to mention some praise worthy achievement of the prepaid metre in the nation.  They include;

  • Curbing of the common practices of leaving tenants to incur debt of electricity bill,
  • Effective usage of electricity supply as everyone is always conscious of her consumption and use it with only what is needful to be powered is – no wastage
  • Effective management as this in turn spreads on making available these services to other people demanding of it. Thus, the principle of substractibity and excludability playing a vital role in the effectiveness of the public consumption of it.

On the contrary, the presence of the prepaid metre in the nation is heralded with a lot of complaints and dissatisfaction from the consumer’s position. An issue ranging from its high cost of purchase to the multiple constraints one is susceptible to in its acquisition to high cost of service to innumerable static processes to malpractice of it workers.  The chain could elongate and grow thicker.

This problem stings on the people and it is necessary for one to make an attempt to relieve them of such social pain. I’m writing this by taking a position of contribution in what i suppose and believe should be solutions for a fraction of the questions we are yet to have answers to.

Through the microscope I have used to examine the pros and cons of the prepaid meter, my debate is much tilting towards the rigidity of it. The rigidity of the prepaid metre is one which is acting like a stopper valve in the effectiveness of this innovation supposedly geared towards a solution in the power sector. The traditional system which the prepaid metre works by is strictly rigid in the sense that a card is solely recognised by a particular metre which it is, from production, programmed with. Thus, the working system of the prepaid metre is one which should be subject to a scrutinised review so as to get the best there-from.

On the other hand, flexibility has always been an ability whose usefulness is very much connected with high level effectiveness and efficiency as it often follows the path of reduced cost and increasing options or avenues of things getting done.

Take for instance; the Multi Choice Company (providers of the DSTV) do not operate a one card-one machine system. Probably because they have seen, experience of for seen the inestimable obstructing power of rigidity in light of optimum delivery, satisfaction and effectiveness on their service. Likewise in the banking sector, the advent of ATM and POS devices in the nation has never been a one card- one machine system perhaps because of same constraining power of rigidity. Even when we had the NITEL Phones, the one-way usability of it cards was inapplicable.

Hence, it is biting and perhaps binding on power sector to make amends unto positive progresses in this matter so that one can be a step closer to citizen’s satisfaction and a better living standard because we have a huge population which creates for diverse dynamics as people go about trying to meet their needs. This diverse dynamics is one reason why flexibility is required and indispensable in most systems of our nation.

The following points are geared towards infusing or injecting flexibility to the present rigidity we presently have and is suffering from;

Firstly, the one card-one one machine system should be modified. Possibilities or avenues of flexibility should be inculcated in the production and programming of such cards and machines so  that a card has the ability  or capacity to be used on any meter device nationwide just like the ATMs and DSTV decoders do operate.

Secondly, options should or may be created so that units (could be a bundle from e.g. 20 units, 40 units) willing to be inputted in any meter of choice by the right card holder can be viable. This is quite similar to one withdrawing, for example, twenty thousand naira of his account with an ATM card.

Thirdly, a transfer and sharing mechanism should be made possible. This can be made practicable in two ways one of which is directly. That is by giving a bundle (e.g. 20 units) to any meter you so desire through and actual physical insertion of a card into such meter. The second way is the indirect method which is more or less an online or IT practise. That is transfer of unit is done through and online method like the online banking.

I’m not ignorant of the fact that the above proposed ideas may give rise to quite a number of negative vices like gross theft of meter cards, a couple of unjustified transfers and others but this can be curtailed with the last point in the paragraph below.

The security pin culture can also be imbibed so that only the right holder of the card can perform any successful operation with it just like the ATM cards. Effective pin programmes should be infused in the operation of this in view that frauds through meter cards and device can be effectively dealt with online and otherwise.

In conclusion, if the above ideas is being given a chance, I believe the best of the benefits inherent in flexibility would be released unto us hassle- free. Thus effectiveness is given a better chance to survive and a happier satisfied public is made.

Thank you.




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