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[Ibadan]–The management of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), covering Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Kwara and parts of Niger, Ekiti and Kogi states, has promised to meter all its customers within five years, as directed by industry regulator, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). 

The promise comes as the Disco groans under  monthly losses of $15.2 million or N4.724 billion, from a number of factors, including high technical losses, unpaid debts by Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), energy theft, vandalism, foreign exchange and a host of others.

Electricity consumers believe once the Disco obeyed NERC’s directive, the issue with estimated or crazy billing, which many consumers have refused to pay, would end.

The Disco headquarters, IBEDC Managing Director and Chief Executive, John Donnachie, while speaking with Journalists in Ibadan disclosed that the company required between N50 and N60 billion to meter all its customers, adding  that metering customers may not be effective for accurate billing, as eight in every 10 meters installed are tampered with, thus resulting in inaccurate billing and attendant huge losses to the distribution companies.

Donnachie said, “Metering is not the only solution to effective billing, as for every meter installed, 80 per cent of them are by-passed. What we need is to execute severe sanctions on power thieves and those who vandalise electricity equipment. People are not paying because there are no sanctions.”

He included that efforts by IBEDC to improve serve delivery in its areas of jurisdiction are being hampered by the huge monthly losses and associated challenges, noting that Discos are being blamed for all the power issues faced by consumers.

He, however, maintained that IBEDC is making efforts to meter all its customers, by investing huge sums in sub-station upgrades, new billing systems and upgrade of customer care centres.

In his own contribution, IBEDC Deputy Managing Director, John Ayodele, said parts of the Discos plans include “Correctly capture and effectively manage 100 per cent of our active customer base, which integrates our asset register and customer service for tighter control and enhanced service delivery, and meter all customers within five years.”

Others, according to The Guardian, are: implement a verified and robust billing system to enhance transparency and fair billing in order to achieve our aggressive Aggregate Technical, Commercial, and Collections (ATC&C) loss targets; Drive engineering upgrades that focus on enhanced delivery of ‘Quality’ electrification to our Top 100 customers, with tools, systems, equipment upgrade.

“IBEDC has completed the metering of all identified maximum demand (MD) customers thereby delivering on NERC deadline of February 28th 2017, while 189,339 meters have been installed for MD & Non-MD Customers from November 2013 – January 2017″, Ayodeji noted.

He added that the Disco also embarked on energy audit, replacement of faulty/obsolete meters and metering of premium customers for higher revenue drive.

On the losses, Donnachie disclosed that “the MDAs debts till date are in excess of N8.2 billion, while MAN is still paying the old rate of N26 instead of the new cost reflective tariff of N104.35/KwH. Also, we have not been able to pass on the forex losses to consumers, so we have a grand revenue shortfall of over N100.14 billion, and we cannot borrow from any bank.”

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, had warned that the MDAs pay all their outstanding debts, threatening to deduct the accruable from their budgetary allocations upon the reconciliation of the figures with the respective parties.

Copyright 2017 The Page. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.thepageng.com as the source.



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