The Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) has urged customers and communities under its franchise network areas that have been requesting for replacement of aging or overloaded distribution transformers (DT) to upgrade their commercial performances as a prerequisite for qualifying for relief DTs.
Dr. Tinuade Sanda, Managing Director, and Chief Executive Officer, EKEDC, made this clarification on Thursday, during an engagement forum with customers under the Ojo electricity business district consisting of Iba, Isashi, Shibiri, Alaba, Okokomaiko and environs.
While restating the commitment of the DisCo to responding to the concerns of customers in the district, Dr, Sanda, who was represented at the forum by Mrs. Rekhiat Momoh, EKEDC, Chief Commercial Officer, said that the DisCo is subjected to very strict market regulations mandating it to attain 80 percent to 100 percent in its monthly revenue remittances to the Nigerian electricity market operator, from what used to be around 60%.
She said, “Despite 100% remittances to the Market Operators (MO), our collection efficiency has dropped below 30%, thereby increasing our losses, since customers are not committed to offsetting their bills promptly.
“The commercial losses and 100% mandatory monthly remittance target to the MO, have made it increasingly difficult for the DisCos to discharge their responsibilities to the customers, especially in the area of network improvement and infrastructure upgrade.
“This is why an engagement forum such as this, is helpful in acquainting the customers on the need to settle their bills promptly to enable us to discharge our commitment to them.
Speaking about the second engagement forum in the Ojo district within 12 months, Mrs Momoh affirmed that the vision of EKEDC is to be the preferred and customer-centric electricity company in Nigeria and Africa, at large, discharging responsibilities to all stakeholders.
She said, “Within a year, we have installed and energised more than 150 distribution transformers in different communities, with resolve to do more despite a very tight operational environment, due to collection inefficiencies and strict regulatory framework.
Giving reason for the delay in energising transformers procured and donated by some communities, the EKEDC Chief Commercial Officer, noted that the DisCos usually conduct business justification concerning the community before connecting the donated transformer to the national grid.
She said, “While we commend communities that have taken it upon themselves to assist us with transformers and other DT components and accessories, it is fundamental for the community to first establish their commercial performances, before embarking on such capital-intensive investment.
“Many times, some of these communities are owing humongous outstanding bills, which must first be settled before the donated transformers can be energised. This rule is based on the market regulations. We are restricted as an organisation to act in compliance with the rule.
Mrs. Momoh however lamented that the EKEDC has been incurring so many losses in recent times since electricity is no longer a social service. She noted that the Nigerian Government has ended subvention and subsidy on electricity.
She said, “The electricity market revenues are obtained from the market with no subsidy of any kind from the government. Customers must see this as the reason why we need them as partners in this business, in order to serve them better.
According to her, electricity from the grid has proven to be cheaper than all the alternative sources including the generator in every home.
She said, “While customers pay less than N50 per kWh for electricity from the grid, home or business premise that operates on petrol generator and 20 kVA diesel generator for an average of 6 hours daily, spends more than N60,000 per month and costs N300,000 per month.”
She however charged customers experiencing high billings to visit their business district, adding that the staff of the company would be willing to support them in resolving the issues.
Responding to the delay in the installation of pre-paid meters, under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme, Rekhiat noted that most customers usually provide emails owned by business centres in their registration.
She said, “Customers who provide the right email and other important details will be installed in less than 10 days after payment is made.
The EKEDC CCM also confirmed that the Government has not commenced phase 1, of the National Mass Metering Programme. Adding that only 70,000 of the meters were allocated to EKEDC during phase 0 of the NMMP, which ended in April 2022.
Engr. Oluwafemi Olaoye, EKEDC General Manager Technical, on his part, disclosed that the provision of relief transformers to communities under the company’s franchise area is the sole responsibility of EKEDC, but not customers.
He said, “While customers are commended for donating transformers to EKEDC, it is important to note that such communities will be rewarded with electricity credit over time.
“Notwithstanding, the debt status of customers on existing DT would be analysed before the relief transformers are energised. The community would have to offset about 50 percent of their outstanding bills.
Engr. Olaoye however assured that all the faulty feeder pillars affecting power supply in Victory Estate, Post Service Housing Estate, and other areas in the district are being fixed. He also promised that poles will be supplied to all community who had made request.
He appealed for patience and cooperation over the outages being experienced by customers due to faulty feeder pillars, bad poles and overburden transformers, asking for understanding pending when the issues will be resolved.
Mr. Ore Ekundayo, Financial Officer of Post Service Housing Estate Community Development Association (CDA) in his reaction chided EKEDC for the poor power situation in the Estate.
He said, “The Estate is occupied by widows and families of officers and soldiers who have retired after serving the country for many years. Unfortunately, these people are subjected to epileptic power supply, often leading to constant load shedding.
“The people in the estate are tired and frustrated over prolonged local load shedding which has led to serious crisis, due to incessant power outages.
“The derogatory remark on the CDA officials by the residents, is becoming too much and we are appealing to EKEDC to save us from the shame, by coming to our rescue.
“We are ready and committed to part with our resources, as a form of support to restore power to the estate. We will do this, even if we have to donate millions of Naira to end the crisis. We are tired of the load shedding and frequent power failure.
Mr. Ambrose, Chairman, electricity committee, Imude community and Sibiri, charged the EKEDC to improve on the quantum of electricity supplied to the Ojo district.
He said, “EKEDC earns a lot of revenue in Ojo, but power supply to the district has not been regular. We need serious overhaul and upgrade in the entire area.
“We commend Dr. Sanda for her efforts to end the 9 years of persistent power situation in Imude community. We charge the MD to encourage the engineers working on the feeder pillars to complete the installation and energise the community before the end of April,” the community leader appealed.
Ambrose however charged customers owing EKEDC to ensure that they offset their bills. He also bemoaned the attitudes of customers bypassing prepaid meters, warning that such act is a criminal act likened to armed robbery.
According to him, customers are critical stakeholders in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Market. He added that regular payment and collaboration with the DisCo are panaceas to resolving all challenges facing the Nigerian power sector.
The EKEDC officials at the engagement forum however promised that all issues raised at the forum would be addressed, assuring that all ongoing repair and installations would be completed as part of efforts to strengthen relationship with the customers.