The Nigerian power sector is confronted with inadequate, poor, un-organized electricity billing and consumer relations management. Electricity Tariff charges and collection has been a major challenge in some community in Nigeria even with the adoption of prepaid billing meters. The procedure of installment and payment is cumbersome and distressing as electricity consumers need to proceed to banks to make payments and then take tellers to power control utility offices to affirm their power payment before they can energize their cards. The significant motivation of this research is to design and implement a convenient, cashless, automated and transparent electricity metering, billing and payment system. This research combines the power of the internet to make power meters communicate with SMS and E-mails network. This proposed system when fully implemented, will allow electricity consumers to remotely recharge and pay their electricity bills from their mobile phones and laptops seamlessly. The implementation of the Online Electricity Payment and Metering System for Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company will help improve accountability, organize and ease payment for electricity in Nigeria. The proposed system was developed using the HTML & CSS, and the PHP and mySQL programming language.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Energy is very significant in every human activities in life for everyday living. The energy meter is a fundamental component of electricity supply. An energy meter is an instrument used to measure electrical supply consumption of electrical appliances in private homes or business areas. Energy meters are rated in kilowatt-hour (kWh). The kilowatt-hour is the amount of electricity energy consumed by a heap of one kilowatt over a time of 60 minutes. Energy meter fundamentally comprises of voltage coils and current loops. The voltage loop measures the instantaneous voltage (volts) while the present coils measure the instantaneous current (amperes). The result of the instantaneous voltage, system. This electrical system enables both electricity consumers and the utility company to remotely screen their electricity utilization and consumption. It additionally permits the client to remotely pay or “recharge” his/her meter. The system is efficient and effective against corruption since the energy consumptions can be estimated remotely by the electricity company and be cross-checked with revenue earned over the period of time. This research combines the power electronic meter with a communication network which in this case is a SMS network and email network. The Remote electricity billing is a unique concept, in which the Online Electricity Payment and Metering System will help improve accountability, organize and ease payment for electricity in Nigeria, this will help the electricity management board collect the consumed units’ data from energy consumers to help improve how electricity is shared. Since each consumer is provided with a unique energy meter, which is having a GSM modem, microcontroller unit and a display unit. Energy subscriber can easily pay on the online electricity system without having to queue in banks, and this system will allow consumers to pay for what they can consume or afford.
The expansion in power consumption and the cost ramifications in per kWh have brought about the use of efficient energy appliances and monitoring. Consequently, metering is defined as a method for estimating and monitoring energy consumption and utilization. The Nigerian power segment is confronted with inadequate, unorganized billing and consumer relations organization. Energy Tariff billing and collection has been a major problem in Nigeria even with the introduction of prepaid meters. The procedure of payment is cumbersome and stressful as electricity buyers have to go and pay in banks and then take bank tellers to power control utility office to confirm their capacity payment before they can recharge their meter cards. The major purpose of this work is to design and implement a convenient, cashless, computerized and transparent electricity metering, billing and payment of electricity without having to visit the banks with SMS and email integration to notify users when payments are made and their meter card energized.
A unique feature of this system is that, once a consumer is disconnected or his/her allocated energy is exhausted, they can pay remotely from anywhere in the world through their mobile phones or Laptops, on confirmation of the payment, they are automatically reconnected, as this project works on internet network, the system can be accessed from any part of the country.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE STUDY
In Nigeria, electricity consumers are often faced with the problems of queuing in banks and finding it difficult to pay their prepaid electricity bills, even after successfully payments, they have to take their payment receipts to Power control offices to get their prepaid meter recharged, this causes delay and is a drawback in our communities. Also companies using electricity for production purposes, have a large amount of loss when their electricity is disconnected, when the allocated energy being exhausted. Therefore, it is important to have an effective and efficient online system for such purposes via internet platform with consideration to seamless payments of prepaid electricity fees. This research presents the design and functional significance of a web-based application with online capability called the Online Electricity Payment and Metering System for Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main aim of this research to Design and Implement an Online Electricity Payment and Metering System that will allow electricity users across Nigeria recharge their electricity meters seamlessly across Nigeria with the following objectives:
- Enable Payment for prepaid energy credit through the internet with SMS and email notification.
- Automatically crediting consumers and allocating power consumption immediately after payment.
- Sending SMS and email alerts after payments or when credit is running low.
- Sending energy consumption information to the power utility office.
- Protection of payment & billing transactions.
- Increasing accountability in the Energy sector in Nigeria.
1.4 MOTIVATION OF THE STUDY
Electricity is a very essential form of energy in today’s world. Humans cannot imagine living without electricity. It is used for various essential purposed like home appliance, production of things we use for our daily living, industrial purposes, irrigation purposes and so on. But electricity is exhaustible source of energy. This has led to the development the Online Electricity Payment and Metering System, to enable electricity payment very simple and easy when exhausted.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
Nigeria has different Electricity distribution companies, for the research, attention is focused on implementing an Online Electricity Payment and Metering System for Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company.
1.6 LIMITATION OF THE PROJECT
This project is developed to cover the payment challenges electricity consumers face in areas handled by Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, but it can be used and implemented by other distribution company across Nigeria, this can be achieved by merely adjusting the input design of the program and user interface.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
- Electricity- Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion of matter that has a property of electric charge.
- Electricity meter - An electricity meter, electric meter, electrical meter, or energy meter is a device that measures the amount of electric energy consumed by a residence, a business, or an electrically powered device.
- Payment- the action or process of paying someone or something or of being paid.
- Energy - power derived from the utilization of physical or chemical resources, especially to provide light and heat or to work machines.
- SMS - (short message service) is a text messaging service component of most telephone, Internet, and mobile device systems.
- Email- messages distributed by electronic means from one computer user to one or more recipients via a network.
- Electricity bills - a bill for money owed for electricity used. invoice, bill, account