April 16, 2024

Meter hike: Eko DisCo to install 50,000 prepaid meters before end of 2023, targets 150,000 annually

Oredola Adeola

 

The Eko Electricity Distribution Company has revealed the plan to install 50,000 prepaid meters by the end of 2023 and 150,000 annually, in response to the Nigerian government’s recent announcement of increased costs for single-phase and three-phase prepaid meters to N81,975.16k and N143,836.10k, respectively.

 

Dr. Tinuade Sanda, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of EKEDC made this known on Thursday, during the company’s  engagement forum with customers under the Lagos/Victoria Islands.

 

This commitment, according to her is part of EKEDC plan to improve the efficiency of electricity distribution and ensuring that customers only pay for the quantum of electricity used.

 

The MD who was represented at the meeting by Mrs Rekhiat Momoh, EKEDC Chief Commercial Officer, disclosed the first priority of the company is to massively install prepaid meters in residents of customers who had paid before the recent increase in the cost, assuring that the Meter Assets Providers (MAPs) have been incentivized sufficiently to clear out outstanding and close out the numbers of unmetered customers under its network.

 

She said, “Customers at the Lagos and Victoria Islands customers engagement forum are excited about the improvement in our supply and service delivery and have reaffirmed commitment to partner with EKEDC to ensure all issues are promply address to the best of satisfaction of all parties.

 

 

“For sometimes now, we have not been able to install prepaid meters to our customers for so many reasons, but with this new price we are embarking on massive rolling out prepaid meters immediately to close out the unmetered gap in our network.

 

“So far, over 475,000 prepaid meters have already been installed and this month alone starting from tomorrow (Friday, September 8, 2023) we are going to hold meeting with the contractors and meter manufacturers to review their programme toward closing out on the ones that are pending.

 

 

“In the remaining part of the year, we are very certain about installing nothing less than 50,000 customers, because we have a target to install 150,000 in a year.

 

“All the 8,000 customers that have paid already do not have to bother about the increase in the cost, we shall clear out their installation first at no additional cost, while customers who makes payment from tomorrow will be installed within 10 days.

 

 

Mrs. Momoh from EKEDC stated that the company has replaced 99% of all iron utility poles within its system with concrete poles for safety reasons.

 

 

She said, “There are currently less than 10 iron poles in the network, all of which will be replaced within the next week. We are commitment about the safety of our customers and staff, hence the plan to completely end steel poles with better alternative.

 

 

“I will be very surprised if we have ten iron poles in the whole of the EKEDC network, some of which can only be found in Lagos Island, as this was the first urban centre to enjoy power in Nigeria. I am very sure that all of them will be replaced before the end of September.

 

 

The EKEDC Chief Commercial Officer further revealed that over 150 distribution transformers (DT) have been replaced in this last quarter actually.

 

 

Speaking about the EKEDC cash call, Mrs. Momoh noted that the company has consistently achieved a collection efficiency of 82 percent in the last three years, despite 100 percent collection recommended by the NERC.

 

 

She said, “EKEDC’s average revenue collection is around 82% of what customers are billed in the last three years. This is not an impressive result because pay 100% on every electricity transmitted into our distribution network.

 

 

“About 14% of our customers are defaulting in payment of their bill, this is why we are committed to closing the gap through massive installation of prepaid meter,” the EKEDC CCO stated.

 

Alhaji AbdulLatif Muse, the Executive Secretary of Victoria Island and Ikoyi Security and Environment Trust, praised EKEDC for enhancing its service delivery to customers.

 

 

He urged the electricity utility company to adopt smart solutions in its operations, including the implementation of a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition – Distribution Management System (SCADA-DMS) Center.

 

 

This system according to him, would enable the company to monitor the performance of its infrastructure more efficiently and detect and respond to faults promptly, thereby reducing downtimes.

 

 

He said, “SCADA is a computer-based system that helps monitor and control processes within the distribution network. It is crucial for electricity companies like EKEDC to have a reliable SCADA system in place to ensure the smooth and uninterrupted supply of electricity to their customers.”

 

 

“My understanding of the SCADA system is that it would ensure that distribution equipment is monitored effectively from the offices of the utility company. Electricity customers do not have to waste much time physically reporting to EKEDC, the entire system,” he said.

 

 

Alhaji Muse suggested that EKEDC should invest in smart utility equipment, such as the new prepaid meters, to reduce operational costs and improve service efficiency. He noted that the current equipment has been in use for a long time and is not smart.

 

 

He noted that recent increase in cost of procuring prepaid meters under the MAP scheme is justified by the cost of importing the equipment. He acknowledged that there has been a significant change in the exchange rate for the worse, calling for the need to rebuild the strength of its currency with local production of goods.

 

 

The ES, Victoria Island and Ikoyi Security and Environment Trust emphasized the need for Nigerians to begin to localize production of utility equipment so that the country can have more control over pricing.  He said, “By doing so, the country will not be dependent on meters and transformers that come from overseas.

 

 

Engr. Temitayo Okunoren-Makindipe, a member of Victoria Island and Ikoyi residents Association (VIIRA) commended the EKEDC for organising the engagement forum to address serious issues affecting the service delivery, adding that implementation of all the issues raised will improve the power supply in the network.

 

 

She emphasised that electricity supply within VI and Ikoyi has improved but encouraged EKEDC to increase supply to the 18-hour that customers in the area are paying for.

 

 

” I am hopeful that with the new management of EKEDC things will improve. I commend the Engr Fashola, the district manager for his commitment to concerns of all customers in the district,” she said.

 

 

Engr. Okunoren-Makindipe therefore noted that the DT in her area is over 40 years old, and power supply frequently fail during whenever it rains due to strong winds.

 

 

Mr. Babatunde Lasaki, General Manager, EKEDC Corporate Communications Department, EKEDC urged customers to reach out to the management for prompt resolution of issues.

 

 

He emphasized that cooperation between the DisCo and customers is fundamental to addressing power issues in the network, warning customers against taking laws into their hands.