April 21, 2024

Service delivery: EKEDC commits to 100% prepaid metering, invests millions of dollars in equipment upgrades

Chief Adegbesan Olusegun, Baale of Araromi Community,, Aik Alenkhe, Chief Human Resources representing Dr. Tinuade Sanda, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, EKEDC, Engineer Okpo Onyekwere, General Manager, EKEDC Technical Operations and others at Ijora District customers engagement forum on Thursday

Oredola Adeola

 

 

The management of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) revealed that it has already spent millions of dollars on equipment upgrades, including replacing old transformers, and further emphasised its commitment to eliminating estimated billing to achieve 100% metering of its customers.

 

Dr. Tinuade Sanda, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, EKEDC made this known on Thursday during the company’s regular customers engagement forum organised for customers in Ijora District, consisting of Otto, Odaliki, Onike, Iganmu, Surulere, and Yaba.

 

Dr Sanda who was represented at the forum by Aik Alenkhe, Chief Human Resources of Eko Disco said that the company’s commitment to distribution infrastructure upgrade across all its network is an ongoing and continuous exercise.

 

The EKEDC MD said the management under her watch is committed to improving the quality of life for customers through sustainable service delivery and excellent customer relations which is why regular consultations are regularly held across all the districts to identify concerns of customers.

 

She said, “The customer engagement session is one of the strategic platforms utilized by Eko Disco to keep customers updated on activities and challenges faced by the company, with the ultimate goal of ensuring efficient and effective service delivery.

 

“Through this form of engagement, EKEDC is focused on continuous improvement and has witnessed significant improvements in power availability within its service area. We will continue to prioritize this and stay focused on achieving our corporate mission statement.

 

Alenkhe, Chief Human Resources of Eko Disco while reacting to concerns raised by the customers in Ijora over the slow deployment of prepaid meters to the district area, attributed the seemingly slow pace to the increasing customer population, which is continuously growing almost on a daily basis.

 

He said,” The goal of EKEDC is to achieve 100% metering of their customers, and we are committed to achieving that. The installation of prepaid meters is crucial for several reasons including helping us to accurately measure and bill customers for their electricity usage and reducing customer dissatisfaction caused by estimated bills.

 

“Customers need to reach out to us through our various channels to process their switch from estimated metering to prepaid. This would help to reduce collection losses by ensuring that customers pay for the electricity they consume.

 

“During the engagement forum, customers have confirmed improvement in the quantum of electricity supplied to the district and this is why we are committed to ensuring accurate billing and revenue collection through the installation of prepaid meters in Ijora.

 

Speaking about the increasing rate of energy theft and distribution infrastructure vandalism in the area,  Alenkhe urged the community leaders and customers in the Ijora District to cooperate with EKEDC to nip the activities of vandals and energy thieves in the bud.

 

According to him, vandalism of infrastructure, meter bypass, and illegal connections are often a loss to both the DisCo and the customers who will share the burden if not curtailed.

 

He, therefore, appealed to them to help EKEDC to prevent energy theft, emphasising that illegal tampering with prepaid meters passes the cost of usage on to other customers.

 

Speaking about the power crisis at Ijora Fish Market under the Ijora District,  Alenkhe explained that the management of EKEDC will do everything within its capacity to address the situation. He added that the company is working with all relevant players in the electricity value chain, including the power generating company and the transmission company of Nigeria (TCN) to fix the issue.

 

While revealing that he is not aware of the exact quantum of availability at the time, Alenkhe assured that the company will work with internal and external stakeholders to fix the challenges within the company’s control and engage with GENCOS and the transmission network to ultimately resolve the power crisis.

 

Reacting to the drop in the power allocation to EKEDC from the national grid, the Chief Human Resources of EKEDC explained that when customers complain about a drop in supply, what they often don’t understand is that the power sector operates as a value chain, with generation, transmission, and distribution (DisCos) being closest to the electricity consumer.

 

He said, ” Power sector challenges can occur at different stages along the entire value chain, but the pressure is always mounted on the DisCos to guarantee supply to the end users.

 

“Despite these challenges, the management of Eko Disco is committed to addressing all the issues by working with internal and external stakeholders to ensure efficient power supply.

 

” That is why we have always allocated a significant portion of capital expenditure to the upgrade of facilities and equipment. The company has already spent millions of dollars on equipment upgrades, including the replacement of old transformers. This commitment to upgrade is ongoing and continuous.

 

Corroborating the statement of Dr. Sanda, Engineer Okpo Onyekwere, General Manager, EKEDC Technical Operations, emphasised that the customer town hall meeting in Ijora District is an attestation of management efforts to understand the customers’ experiences, identify their challenges, and find ways to improve the services provided.

 

He said, “Overall, the meeting was successful, with customers acknowledging the improvements in the quantum of power supplied to the district in the last few months.

 

“During the meeting, several issues were highlighted by the customers. The most prominent issue was the problem of estimated billing and the lack of prepaid meters. The customers have been assured that these issues would be addressed on an individual basis.

 

“We have encouraged them to contact the customer care team or meet with the district team to resolve any personal issues relating to estimated billings or processing of prepaid meters.

 

“We have also promised to address the leaning and broken electric poles in the district. The district team has been directed to book the necessary poles from the company’s store and replace them in a timely manner.

 

“We are also calling on all the customers to be vigilant and report any cases of vandalism to the police authorities or the district team. Collaboration between the customers and the company is crucial to prevent vandalism, as it is detrimental to both parties.

 

Engineer Onyekwere therefore restated the EKEDC’s efforts to address all the concerns raised at the meeting assuring improvement in the overall experience of all customers. He noted that before the next engagement forum, the issues of estimated billing, lack of prepaid meters, and vandalism will not be raised again.

 

CUSTOMERS’ REACTION

Customers at the engagement forum expressed satisfaction with the improvement of power supply in the Ijora District of EKEDC but appealed for the aggressive transition of the majority of customers to prepaid meters.

 

They also urged EKEDC to replace old distribution poles and unburden overloaded transformers with the installation of new transformers arising from overpopulation in the district.

 

The customers, therefore, restated their commitment to work with EKEDC to address energy theft and bypass a smooth power supply in the area.

 

Abdullahi Hameed, a customer of EKEDC from the Iwara community, confirmed that about 35% of residents in the area are using prepaid meters and commended EKEDC for scaling up meter installation in the area.

 

However, he noted that the power load in the area is too much at the Aderupoko area and that the population of residents using that transformer is too high, leading to frequent power cuts due to overloading. He appealed for a relief transformer and reported the issue to the Business Unit in Sabo.

 

Chief Adegbesan Olusegun, Baale of Araromi Community, commended the company for its prompt response to faults and for organizing customers’ forums to discuss development within each community under its network.

 

The Baale, therefore, urged communities to assist the DisCo in protecting their power installations and to report illegal energy users or energy thefts within their neighborhood.

 

Chief Olusegun also urged the EKEDC management to find lasting solutions to the issue of estimated billings and metering challenges.