The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), has said it would target to achieve a zero per cent electrical accident occurrence in 2017, as against few cases of electrical accidents it recorded in 2016.
According to its Managing Director, Ernest Mupwaya, the previous statistics of electrical accidents necessitated that customers must be sensitised to completely eradicate such occurrences in its network.
Despite the Disco’s award by the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) as the safest network in November 2016, it however had a number of electrocutions, which attracted inquiries and fines from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
One of such electrocutions was in Lugbe area of Abuja where about three persons died, and a couple others injured from poor electrical connections.
However, the Disco’s Director of Risk and Compliance, Collins Chabuka, said at the event, which was held in Mpape area of Abuja, that AEDC would engage communities on the best safety practices in their use of electricity.
He noted that this became necessary following reports that 69 per cent of the electrical accidents it recorded in 2016 were on account of third party (customers) poor handling of electricity.
Chabuka urged customers to desist from patronising illegal and unauthorised electricians whom he described as ‘NEPA 2’ to get supplies from the Disco’s network.
He also advised house owners to often run earth lines on their building to absorb power in the event of a power surge in the network.
He said: “This will help to reduce cases of electrical accidents and electrocutions in the network.”
He also spoke on vandalism of the Disco’s assets, and begged its customers to help identify suspects.
On by-pass of meter and energy theft, he stated: “If AEDC finds out that this is what you have done, we will prosecute you immediately. It is either you pay a huge fine or go to jail after all court processes.”
Meanwhile, the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), has claimed that repeated constraints in the country’s transmission network have prolonged low power voltage and rationing of electricity supplies currently being experienced in parts of Abuja and other states of the country.
Speaking in Abuja on the current state of power supply and the claims of load rejections by the 11 Discos, ANED’s Director of Research and Advocacy, Mr. Sunday Oduntan said there have been more rationing and low voltage supply in Abuja, Kano, Enugu and Ibadan recently.
Oduntan said for Abuja, transmission constraints on the facilities of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) in Katampe, Kukwaba, Gwagwalada, Central Area and Apo, have been responsible for the poor supply experienced by residents.
According to him, due to the inefficiencies yet to be resolved, customers have been having poor voltage along Apo-Karu and Lafia axis of the transmission line.
“As I speak, some of our big customers like Silverbird Galleria, Jabi Mall in Abuja are having low voltage due to the transmission constraints. What that means is that we are losing revenue from our huge customers. The federal government must make more investments in the section to tackle this challenge,” said Oduntan.
Recently the TCN said that it directed the Generation Companies (Gencos) to reduce their daily power generation as an option to stabilise the national grid, claiming that Discos were rejecting load allocated to them.
A statement from TCN’s spokesperson on this, Seun Olagunju, stated that the System Operator (SO) section noticed imbalance in the power flow rising about 50 Hertz (hz) because, “some Discos failed to take more load as generation increases.”
The statement then added: “This has left the SO with no other option than to ask the Gencos to reduce generation to ensure grid stability,” and subsequently denied that the challenge was that of transmission’s wheeling capacity which it said was 6,500 megawatts (MW).
ANED, which however confirmed the load rejection, also claimed that the TCN was often defying the load allocation schedules of Discos by transmitting generated power to where the Discos have low distribution needs, and leaving out the high areas of electricity demand.
Oduntan stated on this: “The issue is about wrong dumping of load where the Discos cannot recover the cost at that point as the power supply is not always enough for all the customers under a particular Disco.”
He said: “For instance, TCN dumps power where it should not in a Disco because its equipment is obsolete and out-dated and has not spent money to maintain the line.”