Benin Electricity Distribution Plc (BEDC) has resolved about 128,000 issues on low supply and bill estimation, its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, has said.
She made this known tduring the inauguration of the company’s Asaba Customer Complaints Forum Office in Delta State.
She said the office opening would re-invigorate BEDC’s commitment to improve customer service standard in Delta, despite the challenges confronting distribution companies (DisCos).
Among the challenges, she said, were low power generation to the grid, metering gaps, transmission limitations, low payment culture and vandalisation of power infrastructure.
“The power sector is a value chain comprising generation, transmission, distribution and ultimately the customer utilisation. This implies a string of interdependency among the four tiers. While the customer is king, he must pay for services rendered to him to ensure that the entire value chain continues to provide good service,” she said.
Mrs Osibodu, represented by the Executive Director, Commercial, Abu Ejoor, added that as part of efforts at resolving complaints on estimated billing and to assist customer self-manage and regulate their electricity consumption, BEDC has also introduced the billing calculator format.
This, she explained, is for customers to estimate their billing from consumption, adding that with it customers could calculate the installed electrical load in their premises with available power supplied and use same to crosscheck the billing as well as manage the use of appliances that consume heavy load.
The Commissioner, Consumer Affairs, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr Moses Arigu, said the opening of the Forum office could not have come at a better time when customers within the BEDC network were facing several challenges, including safety issues, disconnection of communities, and estimated billing issues.
Arigu noted that though BEDC holds a 30 per cent deficit in metering, the implementation of its meter roll out plan with the performance agreement would inject an average of about 100,000 meters yearly over the next five years, thereby closing the gap in the next three years based on the roll out plan.
He confirmed that the Commission has wound down the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI) programme, assuring that efforts were being made to ensure that the pace of metering continues using other schemes currently being reviewed.
He congratulated the newly appointed forum members, including Oghene-Ovie Ukochovwera representing Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Abraham Ifode from Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Mr. Solomon Ejenavi Akperiojire from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Peter Okolie of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and Mr. Ugochukwu Santino Ozah from the non-governmental organisation (NGO) sub -sector. He asked them to approach their tasks with equity and patriotism.
Delta State Commissioner for Energy, Newworld Safugha, who represented the Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa and Senator James Manager, Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, said the danger of illegal connections and overbilling were of concern to the government, urging the forum to address them.
Source: The Nation