An Investigation into the Perception and Attitude of Nigerians Towards Prepaid Electric Meters (A Case Study of Selected Residents of Ikorodu Lagos)
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The use of Prepaid Electric Meter is gaining recognition in recent times due to the numerous complaints by customers on the non-performance of the conventional electric meters. Prepaid meters allow the consumer to make payment for the service in advance before usage unlike the conventional commercial system where payment for usage is made after usage at the end of a given specified period. This means that with the prepaid systems the customer can only utilize power when they have credit in their electricity account. When the credit is exhausted, the power is discontinued (Kwan et al, 2002). The Prepaid Energy Meter enables power utilities companies to collect electricity bills in advance before the consumer’s consumption. Prepaid meters have Automated Meter Reading features and prepaid recharging system and information exchange features on customer usage details (South gate et al, 1996). The technology was first developed in South Africa in 1980 and has since spread to other countries of the world including Nigeria with the purpose of providing power to a wide range of people including the low income earners. According to the Bangladesh Ministry of Power the benefit of the prepaid meter, the customers say it is easy to operate through the use of the smart card to credit the customer account, transparent, ability to regulate usage, budget control, easy payment of bills, elimination of disputed bills, accurate record system, protection from abnormal voltage, provide warning for low credit. For the service providers, the benefit include; Advance payment for service, better earnings and steady cash flow, and Decrease in non-technical losses. The charging of the meter requires that the consumer buy electricity in advance according to his/her requirement through various vending options. Consequently, the meter is credited with the amount of credit bought and power supply is switched on automatically at load side. However, as the usage reaches emergency limit the meter releases a warning alarm indicating that the customer needs to recharge the meter. If the meter is not recharged, it disconnects automatically. The study seeks to investigate into the perception and attitude of Nigerians towards prepaid electric meters using select residents of Ikorodu Lagos.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The use of prepaid meters has in recent time attracted attention of the public due to the numerous complaints and challenges confronted with the use of the conventional meters by consumers of electricity. The purpose for which the prepaid meter was introduced to eliminate the challenges confronted in the use of the conventional meters in terms of cost reduction, durability, easy access to power and convenience has not been fully achieved. Though there has been some achievement in the introduction of the prepaid meters for use by the public, a large proportion of the public have still not adopted the technology and the few customers who have adopted it are reporting of the high cost involved in the maintenance of the prepaid meters. The problem confronting the study is to investigate into the perception and attitude of Nigerians towards prepaid electric meters.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to investigate into the perception and attitude of Nigerians towards prepaid electric meters. A case study of selected residents of Ikorodu Lagos. The specific objectives of the study include;
To determine the relevance of prepaid meters.
To determine the perception and attitude of Nigerians towards prepaid electric meters.
To determine the perception and attitude of Ikorodu residents towards prepaid electric meters.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What is the relevance of prepaid meters?
What is the perception and attitude of Nigerians towards prepaid electric meters?
What is the perception and attitude of Ikorodu residents towards prepaid electric meters?
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Ho1: There is no significant relationship between perception of Nigerians and prepared electric meters.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study intends to provide an assessment on the extent to which prepaid meters have been accepted and the performance rating by the public with the view as to providing the needed information to stakeholders to proffers solution.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study proffers an investigation into the perception and attitude of Nigerians towards prepaid electric meters. A case study of selected residents of Ikorodu Lagos.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The researcher was faced with logistics and geographical constraints.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
ELECTRIC METERS DEFINED
Electric meters are used to determine and measure the amount of electric current supplied.
PREPAID METERS DEFINED
These are meters which enables the customer to make payment in advance before the usage of electricity supply.
Amit, J. and Mohnish, B (2011).A prepaid meter using mobile communication, International Journal of Engineering, Science and Technology Vol. 3, No. 3.
Arthur B W (1989) Competing technologies, increasing returns, and lock-in by historical events, The Economic Journal Vol. 99
Brown, R. E. (2002). Electric Power Distribution Reliability, Marcel Dekker, Inc.
Burger, at al (1992). Functional Specification for a Common Vending System for Electricity Dispensing Systems, Measurement and Control Department, National PTM&C Transmission Group, Eskom, Pretoria.
Burke, J. (1994), Power Distribution Engineering, Marcel Dekker, Inc.Burke, J. J.(1994).