WOLE BALOGUN, Ado Ekiti
The Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), has promised to provide a total of 67, 452 meters to consumers in Ekiti State. It said this would ensure accurate metering and put in place a mechanism to protect the rights of electricity consumers in the state.
The firm said metering all consumers would encourage a willingness to pay the monthly bills and reduce the burden of huge debt being owed by consumers through estimated billings.
The BEDC Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Funke Osibodu, represented by the Executive Director in charge of Commercials, Dr. Abu Ejoor, said this in Ado Ekiti on Monday during the official launch of the mapping and enumeration exercises leading to the registration of consumers to have access to meters.
For the scheme to be successful, Osibodu urged the government to implement relevant laws to stop cases of vandalism, advising that mobile courts can be set up to try some of the criminals perpetrating the nefarious act.
She said the mapping and enumeration initiatives were in line with the directive of the National Electricity Regulation Commission NERC), to encourage the development of independent and competitive meter services, eliminate estimated billings, attract private investments, close the metering gap and ensure revenue assurance in the Nigeria electricity supply industry.
Osibodu said power would be restored in Gbonyin and Ekiti East local government areas of the state that have been in darkness for over five years after the scheme, saying the power outage in the councils was caused by the rejection of bulk billings by consumers in the affected areas.
“The customers’ premises will be cleared whether you want a single or double faces before they are metered. Metering will start from Ado Ekiti and move to other local governments. We warn that customers should not pay cash to enumerators or mappers; they should pay in our designated banks.
“An average of 13,542 megawatts is supplied to Ekiti on monthly basis and 14 percent of the power generated is lost due to poor network facilities and technical losses caused by non-payment of bills and theft.
“We want our customers to cooperate with our officers as they move around to capture them in the two exercises, because the enumeration process will help in resolving almost 60 percent of the complaints from customers,” he said.
Osibodu lamented that the greatest challenges of electricity supply in Ekiti had always been the transmission bottlenecks, vandalism, massive energy theft, high community unrest and huge debt owed on bills.
“We have been able to correct some of these challenges through rehabilitation of some of the damaged facilities like Ikogosi/Erinjiyan /Ipole Iloro on Aramoko 33KV, commissioning of Ado Ekiti 2.5MVA 33/11KV injection substations to increase power supply from six to 12 hours.
The BEDC official in charge of Ekiti, Mrs Kunbi Labiyi, said the company had been trying to improve on electricity supply despite the administrative and technical hitches it suffers, saying some communities had been energised to boost the economy and diversify the economy from the civil service structure.
Labiyi added that the BEDC was also tapping into the off-grid electricity generation options, in partnership with the state government for improved electricity supply and robust economy.
On the Ekiti communities that have been in darkness for years, Labiyi said: “They found themselves in this condition because they rejected prepaid meters. They said they preferred individual billings, which was not possible, because there was no way we could know what they were consuming.
“We are sure that their issues will be resolved after this enumeration,” she said.