BEDC reviews tariff for stable power
BENIN Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) has unveiled plans to review electricity tariff, which will immensely improve steady power supply, community relations and customer care services for over 700, 000 customers in Ondo, Delta, Edo and Ekiti states.
The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, who made this disclosure during the public consultation on tariff review in Akure, said that tariff review would enhance service delivery to customers.
According to her, there is need to familiarise the general public with pre and post privatisation experiences of the company. Osibodu noted that it is imperative for BEDC to sanitize the business and commence new operations with notable improvement in their services to their customers in the four states of the federation, which she said would manifest fully in 2017.
She said: “We will begin transformation and growing BEDC to ensure provision of additional power from other sources outside the national grid.
We expect to feel the impact of this from 2017 when these new generation would have taken root. We have engaged NDPL Tata from India and GUMCO from Nigeria as technical partners”.
She enumerated some of the challenges confronting the smooth running of the company since acquisition to include poor record keeping and accounting, poor customer service orientation on metering, billing, illegal connection, power theft by customers, poor network conditions with overload feeders and transformers leading to poor power outage.
Osibodu, rationalising the critical need to effect necessary industry enhancing changes, affirmed that the 700, 000 customers of the company were not being served because the company has not been able to offer them the expected value for their money.
However, she assured that the distribution company is on top of the situation to reposition its operation by providing good services to their customers, ensuring operational efficiency and build up a well trained, motivated and highly competent workforce that will provide improved services to the four states of operation.
According to her: “All these require dedicated, honest, experienced and competent staff, who will put the customers first and be ready to work selflessly.
The process of changing our work culture, engaging additional talent, re-training existing staff is being rigorously pursued.” The Chief Risk Officer of BEDC, Billy Afolabi, who anchored the consultation with the maximum demand customers revealed that the company inherited 8, 300 meters unsupplied prior to the privatisation while only 2, 967 customers, came forward for the verification exercise in 2014.
Nevertheless, Afolabi mentioned that about 3,000 of such meters have been cleared while they have installed 72, 000 meters; and through the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI), there are 17, 000 meters in stock for their customers as the company looks forward to delivering 100, 000 meters annually.
He disclosed that the cost of procuring the meter through CAPMI scheme allows their customers to be eligible to get a refund of their money through a rebate on a monthly fixed charge component of their bill in three years, which covers the cost of meters only.
While the representative of National Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC), Joseph John from the zonal office in Ado Ekiti said the public consultation helped to bridge the gap between the company and its consumers, and afforded them value for their money. “NERC does not fix charges, but encourage that the power providers should carry the customers along and that the tariff review must be reflective in the value of services rendered to the people,” he said.
One of the maximum demand customers, Gbenga Awe, who spoke alongside other numerous participants, tasked the company on more efficient service delivery, quality of staff and definite patterns of load shedding if necessary, saying the hike in tariff won’t be a problem as long as it commensurate with the service provided to the 700, 000 customers in the four states.