IBEDC raises alarm over customers’ payment apathy, energy theft, begins mass disconnection

Solomon Ezeme

Burdened by customers’ unpaid electricity bills and recurring incidents of electricity theft due to meter by-pass by electricity users within its franchise areas, the management of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) is set to embark on a mass disconnection exercise, aimed at ending the menace and recovering all outstanding.

This was contained in a statement obtained by EnergyDay from Busolami Tunwase, IBEDC’s Media Relations Officer on Monday.

EnergyDay’s check revealed that the majority of unmetered and post-paid customers are often alleged by most electricity distribution companies of being reluctant to offset their electricity bill. It was however revealed that the trend is likely to reduce due to removal of subsidy on electricity and mass installation of technology-based smart meters.

IBEDC however explained that the huge debts and electricity theft within its network are negatively impacting its operation, which has necessitated the mass disconnection and monitoring.

“When customers do not pay for electricity consumed, it has a ripple effect, as we cannot service the electricity value chain,” the DisCo complained.

According to the statement, Engr. John Ayodele, IBEDC’s Chief Operating Officer of the Company (COO),  there was payment apathy by customers of the DisCO while warning that customers who fail to pay up their outstanding bills or are guilty of electricity theft will be disconnected from power supply and duly sanctioned, as the case may be.

“We are retooling our revenue drive strategy to ensure that the monies that have been left uncollected through huge debts, non-payment of bills, underpayment of bills, meter bye-passing, use of illicit meters and energy theft are raked in to enable us to meet our obligations to the customers and the market operators,” he said.

Ayodele, appealed with customers to obtain their meters under the Meter Asset Provider Scheme (MAP) to end disputes over billing as he urged customers with disputed bills to lodge their complaints at the nearest IBEDC Office to seek redress or adjustments in cases where the claims are genuine and verifiable.

He said that customers who purchase meters under the scheme will get their monies back through energy units, overtime.

“The meters will record your accurate consumption, so please apply for a pre-paid meter if you are unmetered, if your meters are obsolete or faulty; and if you have a new building,” he said.

Ayodele shed light on tariff rates which the DisCo believes has generated much controversy within the network, stating that only the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has the power to determine what customers should pay for electricity based on their hours of supply.