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Posted by on Saturday August 2, 2014 at 8:15:31:

If you were asked to choose between the prepaid and post paid electricity meter billing system used by the Power company, which of them would you choose and why?

I've tried both the prepaid and post paid electricity meter billing system in Nigeria and I have to say they both have their advantages and disadvantages and it would mostly depend on what a subscriber wants to use the service for.

A prepaid meter is an electricity meter which only provides the subscriber with power after payment has been made and this can be in the form of a meter token or credit purchased prior to use.

A post paid meter is one that immediately provides electric power to the user once it has been installed and allows the user to only make pay for his power bills after he has used the service and this is normally on a monthly or periodic basis but it's always after use.

1. Post paid meters are credit friendly:

The prepaid meter would need to be credited with funds of the subscriber before he/she will have access to electricity. A post paid meter on the other hand allows the subscriber to start using electricity from day one even without paying for it so it's a bit more credit friendly.

2. Prepaid meters are budget friendly:

A Prepaid meter system has some advantages and this includes allowing the subscriber to only pay for what he can afford in advance and so it's a bit more budget friendly. A post paid meter on the other hand doesn't control what the subscriber uses and in a way is less budget friendly since he could use more than he budgeted or can afford for that month. A post paid meter would be at a good advantage if only a flat fee is paid per month and not varying or increasing rates. In Nigeria, the disadvantage is that the fees are mostly varying or incremental and this has made a lot of people want to dump the post paid billing system. It would have been better if a flat fee was paid. So, it's very hard to budget what one's post paid bills would be if you are in a country like Nigeria.

3. Prepaid meters encourages less power consumption:

Another benefit of prepaid meter billing system is that it encourages savings on electricity consumption unlike the post paid billing. One can choose not to use electricity for the month and in this way minimize his bills. The only bills he may have to pay may just be the service or maintenance bills which are at a flat monthly fee. A post paid billing meter system on the other hand doesn't encourage savings on electricity consumption since there is always a monthly fee to be paid for electricity supply. In Nigeria, the Power company no longer reads the meters but rather makes use of estimated billing system that ensures that people pay a flat fee every month and this has been increasing over the years. Some residents in Lagos, Nigeria have complained of the increasing electricity bills some of which are as high as N25,000(about $150) per month and with those kind of bills, there would be no incentive to encourage the subscriber to save electricity use.

4. Prepaid meter users have more Privacy:

Prepaid meter users tend to have more privacy than Post paid meter users this is because for the former, there would be no need for the Power company officials to visit your home or office just to record the last meter reading before issuing a bill for the month.

5. No embarrassing manual disconnections for Prepaid meter users: With the Prepaid meter billing system, Landlords and tenants no longer have to worry that their power will be cut of manually by the Power company's task force when post paid bills are past due since they can be paid in advance under the Prepaid billing system.

6. Prepaid meters help in reducing in Bribery: The prepaid billing system also have helped reduce the incidence of bribery among Electricity consumers and the Power company task force. At times, subscribers who have not paid bills tend to bribe the Power company staff for free electricity and this doesn't help the power company generate the income due to it.

7. Justice and fairness for both parties:
Since people no longer have to pay a flat rate on electricity service and due to the fact that the electricity company needs to collect its revenue as at when due, the Prepaid billing system helps both parties to achieve this as it allows the subscribers to only pay for what they use and for the Power supplier to get paid for the service it actually rendered. In Nigeria, under the old post paid billing system, people were made to pay for electricity on a monthly basis whether power was supplied or not and that amounted to injustice. The prepaid billing system allows people to buy the electricity they can afford in advance and use it according to how they want as well as have control over it by simply switching off the lights and electronics.

8. Post paid meters mostly come with Fixed bills and help small busineses
Another advantage which Post paid meter billing has over prepaid meters is that unlike the latter which bills users on a variable rate, the former does not always charge users based on usage. At times, Power officials don't check meter readings and so might use an estimated billing system which normally involves issuing a flat monthly charge for all users on the platform. This is ideal for small businesses and factories who just want to pay a flat rate irrespective of their production or business activities which normally require a lot of power. If those businesses were using a prepaid meter and their activities increase, it would also lead to an increase in electricity bills but a post paid meter billing that uses a flat estimated monthly charge would be more beneficial to them.

In Summary however, I'm of the opinion that the Prepaid meter billing system is much better than the prepaid billing system and should be continued.

Re: Prepaid vs Post paid electricity meter billing Reply by BENARD MOSOMI on Monday August 24, 2015 at 19:57:56:

How will one get to know whether the a/c no. he has is for the post pay or pre-pay?

Re: Prepaid vs Post paid electricity meter billing Reply by Felix Okoli on Monday August 24, 2015 at 19:57:56:

Well, in Nigeria, Prepaid meters are normally loaded with credit in advance by using meter tokens and so they don't give light until you've loaded them. Post paid meters always give light and payment is only made in arrears.

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