The Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) has discouraged electricity customers and community leaders from procuring relief transformers for themselves when they have not settled their outstanding bills, emphasising that it is the responsibility of the DisCo to purchase and install relief transformers, poles, and other infrastructure.
Dr. Tinuade Sanda, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer EKEDC made this known during the company’s continuous customers/stakeholder engagement forum to get on-the-spot feedback and review for challenges in mitigating against service delivery to customers within the district areas.
Represented by Mr. Samuel Edoho, General Manager of Commercial/Revenue Cycle, the EKEDC MD/CEO charged the customers to understand their rights and obligations under the electricity market rules.
According to her, EKEDC, the primary responsibility of electricity customers is to settle their outstanding bills, and the purchase and installation of relief transformers, poles, and other infrastructure is the DisCos’ business.
Edoho said, “EKEDC is dedicated to improved services and ultimate customer satisfaction, and we are committed to clearing faults and getting power wheeled to our esteemed customers when there is a breakdown and need for relief distribution infrastructure.
“The Eko Electricity Distribution Company has urged communities to pay their outstanding electricity bills before purchasing distribution transformers. While it is the company’s obligation to replace failed transformers, we need to break even to run the business.
“The company discourages communities from purchasing transformers when they have unsettled electricity bills.
EKEDC General Manager Commercial/Revenue Cycle further stated that over 70 percent of customers on EKEDC’s franchise are on prepaid meters, while the remaining 30% are being engaged to tap into the opportunities provided through the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme.
He therefore gave the assurance that the remaining 30% would be cleared soonest.
Edoho further emphasised that all customers who had made payments before the price increase under the MAP scheme would be metered. He noted that the company is guided by the order of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) which stipulates that all outstanding should be cleared at the old price.
He therefore stated that the prepaid meters purchased under the MAP scheme are refundable with electricity credit. He also emphasised that EKEDC is working towards ensuring 100 percent metering of all its customers.
Responding to complaints about the wooden poles in its network, Edoho confirmed that the company has started the process of replacing all wooden poles in its distribution network, with the aim of phasing them out completely.
He assured that in the next few weeks, out of every 10 wooden poles, 6 will be replaced, and the company will look at how to replace the remaining.
He further emphasised the replacement of wooden poles is part of the company’s efforts to improve its infrastructure and provide reliable power supply to its customers.
EKEDC GM further stated that customers are owing billions of Naira in unpaid bills, prompting the company to encourage communities to clear their debts.
He stated that some communities do not deserve a supply of electricity due to frequent defaults in payment, but the company has given them the opportunity to enjoy electricity while they still have outstanding debts.
Edoho asked customers to offset their current bills, pleading that DisCo is ready to work out modalities for them to settle their outstanding bills. He also stated that EKEDC is committed to improving service delivery to its customers in the Agbara district.
Chief Olumide Erinle, the Baale of Era Town, Otto-Awori, in his comment commended the management of EKEDC for their prompt resolution of faults and other customers’ concerns.
However, Chief Erinle appealed to EKEDC to embark more on enlightenment campaigns to educate communities within their network on the need to desist from building houses under high tension wires.
The Baale charged the representatives of the DisCo to ensure that all complaints were addressed before the next town hall meeting while pleading to residents and customers of EKEDC in Agbara district to give the DisCo time to address all the concerns raised at the forum.
Mr Festus Eweka, Chairman, Customers Consultative Forum, also encouraged the management of EKEDC to step up efforts to safeguard the transformers and other distribution infrastructure.
Eweka charged the leadership of CDAs in Agbara to continue to adopt measures to protect DisCo infrastructure against vandals. He therefore encouraged EKEDC to install solar lights in all transformers.
Mr. Muse Haruna, representing Ifelodun CDA in Adenuga/Surelere, Ibereko, Badagry area, in his comment during the engagement forum, reported that the transformer in his community was installed when there were only a few houses in the area.
He however stated the number of buildings in the area has increased to over 700, thereby putting pressure on the transformer.
He said, “To address this issue, we raised money and bought a relief transformer with cables and high-tension poles, but the transformer has not been energized in the last five years.
“Additionally, two customers who bought prepaid meters have been unable to reload after the initial credit and are currently living without electricity. We are pleading for quick interventions on behalf of these customers,” Haruna stated.