WHY YOUR ELECTRIC BILLS MAY BE TOO HIGH

Posted by Cosmas Asogwa On Saturday, February 16, 2013 0 comments

PHCN billThe quality of wires used in a residential apartment or office can affect the reading of meters.
Power Talkback learnt from interviews with technicians and senior officials of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria that there is a relationship between meter reading and wiring in an apartment.
They stated that the competence of the technician who handles the wiring is also important.
Their view is against the backdrop of concerns raised by some consumers, alleging that their meters might be running faster than normal.
The customers had alleged that the PHCN was manipulating their meters, forcing them to incur high bills.
But the PHCN spokespersons interviewed absolved their organisations of any calculated attempts to rob electricity consumers.
However, some said that poor handling of electricity wiring and the use of substandard cables should be a factor for such customers to consider.
They said poor wiring could cause a meter to malfunction.
The Principal Manager, Public Affairs, Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Mr. Babatunde Fadipe, explained that if there is a leakage in the wiring of a house, the meter will record it as energy being consumed for a definite purpose.
He said, “There is also a nexus between the quality of wiring installation in the house and the functionality of the meter. You will agree that the wiring of a customer’s house is beyond us as a service provider. For instance, if there is a leakage in the circuit due to poor wiring, the meter will see it as load being carried by an electrical appliance.
“If it is a post paid meter, it will seemly record the leakage as part of energy already consumed by the customer and that is the reading that will be used to determine what the customer will pay. But if it is a pre paid meter, the units will simply run faster than it is supposed to without being used for the intended purposes.”
To avoid this situation, Fadipe advised consumers to do periodic checks on the wiring in their apartments. He said one way to do that is to switch off all lights, appliances and even remove the fuse (cut out) and check if the meter will keep reading.
“If you do that and the meter keeps reading, then there is a problem, there is leakage somewhere. You need to alert PHCN officials about it. I am not a technical person, but I learnt that Nigerian wires are very good for such wiring work. It is important to take note of this because fake wires can also cause fire accidents,” he said.
He explains that before a meter is deployed to a location, it is calibrated to work in consonance with the standard of the service provider’s expectation as a measuring device.
But no doubt, a fault can affect the functionality of a meter. It is like any other device that can become faulty at any point in time,” he said.
Also, the Manager, Public Affairs, Sagamu Business Unit, Abel Osungbawaye, said a meter would not read faster than it is supposed to if the wiring was handled by a competent person, and if a good wire was used.
He advised the public to call in PHCN installation officials to carry out checks on their buildings to ascertain that the wiring was well done. He said the officials would help consumers detect falts and possibly rectify them.
He asked PHCN customers to desist from patronising untrained electricians for the wiring of their buildings, insisting that they had to learn properly.
“The meter reading cannot speed or slow down except there is an abnormality somewhere. People should also ensure that the earthing of their house is not done with underrated equipment. The poles and electric cables must be solid,” he added.

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