By Desmond Ejibas
Port Harcourt – The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) said it was currently distributing pre-paid meters free of charge to consumers in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers.
Mr John Onyi, PHED’s Manager, Corporate Communication, in a statement in Port Harcourt on Thursday, warned customers against making payment to unknown persons.
He said the company recently took delivery of 150,000 meters and had already begun installing them in homes without any cost to customers.
Onyi said: “PHED attention has been drawn to stories making the rounds that some unidentified persons are demanding money before pre-paid meters are installed to customers in Rumuomasi Area of Port Harcourt.
“For avoidance of doubt, PHED has not and will not send anybody directly or indirectly to collect money before smart meters are installed.
“In our meeting held with the people and chiefs of Rumuomasi kingdom, PHED made it clear that the meters were free.
“In light of the above, if anybody (official) demands gratification or such an individual’s action suggest that, please call the PHED anti-corruption hotline on 09085555055 or the Police.”
Onyi advised customers to call the company’s attention if their homes were purposely or erroneously not metered while the installation was ongoing in their neighbourhood.
He said that the exercise, which would be done in phases, sought to tackle estimated billings and energy theft by some customers.
According to him, the exercise will improve revenue of the company and enable it to upgrade existing facilities for efficient and stable electricity supply to consumers.