The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) has revealed the plan to invest N14 billion as capital expenditure(CapEx) for the purchase of 300 distribution transformers and other critical infrastructure in 2023, as part of measure to reposition its network and provide electricity to existing and underserved communities under its franchise area.
Mr. Kingsley Achife, Managing Director of IBEDC, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
According to him the N14 billion capex would be utilised over the next 18 months to improve IBEDC’s distribution infrastructure and boost supply to all the franchise areas.
Kingsley Achife who was confirmed as the Managing Director of IBEDC in June 2022, through a declaration jointly signed by Sanusi Garba, Executive Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Alex Okoh, Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), however revealed that the capex would help serve customers under IBEDC better than it has been doing. He expressed the hope that the DisCo’s customers would reciprocate by offsetting their electricity bills.
Achife said, “We are coming with about four themes; we’re looking at source and distribution, under this initiative, will be creating commercial lines, dedicated to providing premium services to special customers.
“As you know there’s been a big shortfall in the demand and supply of energy in Nigeria. Lagos state government had recently revealed that there is a shortfall of 45,000MW, which is now generated through alternative power sources across the country, out of which 15,000MW of the quantum is domicile in Lagos state along.
“And that’s the reason we looked at sourcing and distribution as something we need to address seriously and we are talking to a number of companies to see if we can buy extra power outside the grid to be able to serve these communities,” he said.
The IBEDC MD said that the company has been doing everything in its power to bring excellent service to its customers, so as to reduce the number of people that were underserved in the communities.
He noted that the company had about 550 communities that were underserved or yet to be served.
“We are addressing it with franchising. We have been able to franchise about three of them now and more will follow.
“And we will also address it with mini grids and solar. We are also going to also outsource them by providing some other services which are part of the things we are doing to be able to deal with this issue.
“So we hope that before the end of the year we are going to bring down quite a number of these.”
Achife noted that about 500 transformers were faulty in the company’s network, and it intends to provide about 300 transformers in the course of 2023 to relieve the suffering of existing customers who could no longer enjoy electricity.
He said within the period of six months he assumed office the company has been leveraging technology to ensure effective service delivery.
“We’ve been able to meet to a large extent the bills we’re getting from the market, the achievement can speak for itself.”
Reacting to power outages and load shedding recorded in the last few weeks under its network, Achife said, “Customers have expressed dissatisfactions over disruption in their supplies around Ibadan. This is because Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) is re-tooling some of their lines.
“So from Ayede to Jericho to Eleyele and then another one around Ibadan north to Akobo, quite a lot of people will be experiencing this until the transmission finishes their work, and that is just one aspect of their work.
“And there’s also the aspect of interface between us and them which again requires a lot of investment.
“We have signed some agreements with them on where they need to expand and allow us to take more power because their equipment is old and obsolete.
“And they’re now constraining us to take lower than the amount of power we should take. This also affects people in Ijebu-Ode and other areas as well.”
Achife noted the negative impact insecurity is having on access to electricity as it had increased the number of people migrating from the Northern part of the country to Southwest.
He also stated that electricity tariff has not been cost-reflective to enhance power in the sector.
The IBEDC MD said that though the government had been providing the shortfall in terms of loans, but a lasting solution would be a cost-reflective tariff for a sustainable economy.
Achife said the biggest challenge has been revenue collection and ensuring credible bills were given out to customers.
The MD called on the government to pass legislation on the right of way for utility as it is being done in developed countries.
Achife said this would bring order and reduce illicit digging of roads after their construction and would make it easier for utility companies to repair it anytime such was required.
He also said staff welfare had been in the front burner as well as training, adding that awards in gold and silver categories were given to deserving staffers who sustained their performance between six months and one year.