In its commitment to meet customers’ demand for transparency through metering, the management of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc, IBEDC, said it had invested the sum of N4.5billion in expanding its metering scheme across the business network this year.
Meanwhile, the company worries over leakages as it disclosed that about 56 percent of customers do not pay bills. Disclosing this at a tour of its new facilities in Eleyele, Managing Director, Mr. John Donnachie, stated that the over N1billion new equipment by the company is geared towards enhancing its network across the 122 substations within its network space. He explained that the equipment includes 210 units of 11kVA panels, 14 units of 33KV circuit breakers and 2x15MVA 33/11KV injection substation.
His words: “We are focused on customer service and to develop proper metering programmes against the much complaints of estimated billing, although that is going to take a while to arrive at that point. “In that vein, at the moment we have spent about N4.5 billion on metering this year, and we will strive to continue the process. “However, we have put in place a new billing system to improve customer service. “ On its network investment, Donnachie stated: “The other key element we are exploring is the network development, and what we are here to do today is to share the plans we have currently put in place to that regard. As you can see, these equipment are over N1billion, and would help enhance customer service through network stabilisation and network development.” On liquidity, collection losses He, however, lamented liquidity crunch in the power sector coupled with Foreign Exchange scarcity, calling on the Federal Government to prioritise the power sector for foreign exchange from Central Bank of Nigeria , CBN. Meanwhile, Donnachie, explained that the company had a shortfall in its collections in October.
“Our collection for last month dropped, as we were able to collect N3.5 billion against N4.5 billion expected. “At the moment, we are losing over N500 billion to bills not paid. And a minimum of 56 per cent of our customers are not paying, either they are not paying or they are bypassing the meter. “We know we need to solve the issue of estimated billing and metering, but it is not a quick fix as there are measures we are trying to put in place to help address these challenges. “Just to put things in perspective, my bill last month was N5.7 billion, compared to N3 billion in May. But I could only charge N6 billion to the customers. So, if I collect 100 per cent of everything that I billed, I will not be able to pay salaries with the money left.” He thanked the customers for their continued support in paying electricity bills, adding that “We are begging our consumers who do not pay to please pay for what they used, if they don’t pay their electricity bills, then there won’t be money to fund the project”.