From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) Plc recorded another history recently. It signed a $400million investment with Trans Sahara Consortium to boost power distribution, infrastructure upgrade.
The MoU is expected to ensure installation of smart metering programme to stop illegal tapping of electricity. It would facilitate infrastructure upgrade within the distribution area of the company and boost power supply.
With the metering programme, IBEDC set the pace as the first company to bring the technology to Nigeria, though it has been in operation in 32 countries around the world. The technology would make it difficult for those tapping power illegally to do so. It would also make a thing of the past the complaints by members of the public in connection with crazy bills.
The metering system has an electronic device that records consumption of electric energy at regular intervals and communicates with the central system.
Chairman of IBEDC, Dr. Tunde Ayeni, led a delegation of IBEDC, while Senator Saminu Turaki led the delegation of Trans Sahara Consortium to the signing of MoU in Ibadan, Oyo State. Other stakeholders were also in attendance.
Ayeni said: “I am happy to partner with Trans Sahara Consortium led by Senator Saminu Turaki, who are bringing in technology in partnership with us to install what we called Smart Metering Programme within all our distribution coverage areas.
“The MoU we signed will attract an investment of 400million USD to cover both the metering plan and also infrastructure upgrade within our distribution area. It is the first phase of the investment drive that we have signed with Trans Sahara Consortium.
“Beyond signing of this MoU, they will immediately go into action.
“We have designated an area within our distribution area that will be used as a test sampling so that we can see how the technology works and we can see that it can work within our system.
“The technology has been installed in over 32 countries around the world.
“It is not a new technology, but it is technology that is just coming into Nigeria. Our hands are open to embrace it so that the mistrust and distrust between Discos and consumers can be a thing of the past. We can monitor your consumption.”
He described the technology as “a full system in the sense that it is a self auditing system that takes control out of the hands of human into machine.
You will be sure of what you consume and beyond what you consume, the system will shut down.
“You cannot bypass the metre. It is full proof system; once you touch it, it shut down your system. We will ensure strict monitoring and control to ensure that the system is worth the investment.
“You cannot steal power any longer. Nigerians should wake up to the reality of whether they are ready to pay for what they consume or those who don’t pay will have no electricity.
The system of using people, who paid to cover for a larger people who don’t pay is gone. This industry requires huge investments and it is the consumers that fund the value chain.”
Turaki stated that the investment would at the long run create over 250,000 jobs, though the IBEDC currently has about 3,000 staff.
The job creation, he said, would be sustainable: “It is in line with the initiative of the current administration to create two million jobs.”