The Managing Director, Ikeja Electric, Mr. Abiodun Ajifowobaje, in a chat with reporters, speaks on the state of the company’s network, inadequate power supply from the national grid and efforts at metering customers as well as other issues in the power sector.
On taking over the company on November 1, 2013, you complained of low supply from the national grid. How much are you getting now and what do you need to service your customers?
When we took over in November, 2013, power allocation to Ikeja was between 300 megawatts (Mw) and 320Mw. At a stage, it went to as low as 200Mw, and due to power supply crisis early in the year, at a time we got zero megawatt. Following improved power generation, especially driven by the progress recorded at Egbin Power which generates 1100Mw, we have in the last few months seen improved allocation to Ikeja, of between 450Mw and 500Mw. This has translated to more power supply to our customers.
However, there is still a shortfall as we require 1,250Mw of power for customers within our network. Since the takeover, we have, among other strategic initiatives, continued to upgrade our network for seamless and equitable distribution of the power that we get. We have also localised cases where we have witnessed issues with transformers and feeders. We are responding to these issues whilst implementing a holistic overhaul programme that would reposition Ikeja Electric for optimal performance at all times and across our network. We have made significant progress in this regard and remained committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that our esteemed customers are serviced excellently, efficiently and sustainably.
When the new management took over, promises were made to replace bad transformers and upgrade assets, how far have you gone in fulfilling the promises?
We are replacing bad transformers and upgrading our assets. Between January and June this year, we have replaced 96 defective transformers and have carried out major repairs on feeders and other installations. The upgrade is a continuous process that will ultimately ensure stability and efficiency within the network. There is one aspect of asset that we consider as the most crucial. That is, our people. We have since the takeover continued to invest in our people through local and foreign training programmes designed for all categories of staff. We are confident to state that our people are among the leading professionals in the power sector and we have a seamless succession plan for the future through our Graduate Engineering Programme (GEP). We believe that all of our human capital investments will culminate in the best possible service for our customers.
What is the update on your metering scheme?
We have rolled out our Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) scheme. We projected that we would, on a monthly basis, install 12,000 meters. As soon as our contractors mobilise more teams, we will be hitting 15,000 meter installation per month. After our 2,000 meter installation pilot scheme, we have installed another 8,500. We need less than 2,000 units to hit the target, and this will be achieved by the end of this month. We had earlier said we would install 10,000 meters in October. The programme is very much on course and we are confident that we will realise our target of deploying 300,000 smart meters to our customers.
What caused the delay in your metering scheme?
We wanted to install meters that are smart, reliable, secure and futuristic. This is in line with our customer-centric approach of ensuring service excellence in all our operations. Prior to the ongoing deployment, we had to embark on a thorough review of the project to ensure that the solution we adopt is one that will resonate with global best practice. We went through a lot of painstaking attention to details and stakeholder engagements to arrive at the meters we are currently installing. These smart meters that will be installed at residential and business locations can be monitored remotely from our office. A customer can also monitor how he/she progresses on a daily basis using the meter. For instance, if a customer intends to spend just N10,000 on a monthly basis, that could be achieved. What we have now is secure, tamper-proof and puts the power of conservation and management of usage in the hands of our customers.