PERFORMANCE CHALLENGES IN ENERGY DELIVERY
The management of IBEDC wishes to make known in facts and figures the precarious environment in which it is operating in the power sector. This begins with the extremely low power allocation which affects all DISCOS without exception. The sharp drop from the generation peak of 5,074.70MW to the range of 2,000 MW - 3,500 MW is general knowledge. Distributing this becomes a herculean task as our customers find it difficult to understand why they are suddenly getting reduced power supply. As the electricity distribution company with the largest spread covering Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Kwara states, parts of Niger, Kogi and Ekiti states, rationing the low power supply allocated to us from the grid across our franchise has been greeted with a huge negative outcry by our customers. For example, in the last few months, what we got from the national grid was between 240 – 280 MW which is a far cry from what is required (almost 1,100 MW, see table 1) to service our franchise area optimally.
The current experience with the generation of electricity nationwide occasioned by the vandalism of gas pipelines besides the drop in hydro-power production has exacerbated a turbulent situation for us. As the last leg in the power chain, we can only distribute what we are allocated (table 2 below). Our revenue as an electricity distribution company depends on the energy we have to distribute because the more supply we have, the more revenue we make. Since we cannot store this power, it is in our best interest to supply more of it to our customers because a drop in energy distributed due to a drop in power allocation invariably means a drop in revenue which is not beneficial to any DISCO and other stakeholders in the value chain. However, with the efforts of the current administration and the Federal Ministry of Power at finding a lasting solution to this menace of vandalism, we are hopeful this is a temporary challenge.
Despite the daunting circumstances we are operating in, IBEDC is yet poised to treat its valued customers to courteous and friendly services. We have mapped out a strategic business plan to ensure that we cover all aspects of the business and fulfil our part in delivering quality service.
• Customer Service: We are investing heavily in this critical project which has started out with the rebranding of our customers service offices. This is in order to reflect the new corporate orientation of a first-rate organization with the vision to be the best electricity distribution company in the country.
• Metering: We are committed to massive metering of our customers this year, reducing the need for estimated bills.
• Upgrade of Billing, Revenue and CRM Systems: We are currently implementing a robust world-class billing infrastructure that would cater more efficiently to the needs of our esteemed customers. In this vein, customer complaints on billing would soon be a thing of the past as we have also reviewed and reinforced our Cluster Billing Methodology. The usefulness of this exercise cannot be over-emphasized in a period of low power allocation, as it helps our bills to reflect the on-going trend.
• Network Infrastructure & Maintenance: We are aggressively strengthening our distribution network while expanding to new areas to enable us cope with power challenges due to load demand .
• Human Capital Development: The Company has set out new strategies, aimed at expanding the workforce for better service delivery.
Seeing these efforts we are deploying to ensure superior customer satisfaction, we appeal to the general public for a better understanding of our plight. The current increasing spate of assaults and violence meted to our staff and destruction of already inadequate infrastructure has reached an alarming rate. Our staff can no longer carry out their legitimate duties of fault clearing, meter installations, meter reading, bills distribution and cash collection due to threats to their lives and properties. On a monthly basis, we record an average of 4 to 5 cases of physical battery and assaults on our staff. Sometimes, our business premises experience lock-outs. This attitude and behaviour is threatening our business existence and ability to render quality services to our esteemed customers.
Therefore, we wish to bring notice the various negative scenarios that are threatening our existence as we entreat our dear customers to join hands with us to sustain the business and serve them better.
Non-Payment of Bills: Apathy to prompt payment of bills, clearing of outstanding debts and outright refusal to pay continues to be one of the biggest challenges in the sector. Most people believe they do not have to pay for utility, having a notion that it should be for free.
Energy Theft: Adding to these huge challenges, is the mind-boggling and colossal monster of energy theft rampaging and ravaging our franchise. The strange part is that this is not viewed as a crime in this clime and one of the saddest aspects of the situation is the fact that energy bypass and theft cuts across all strata of the society. For example, for every 10 meters installed, 5-6 are bypassed within 48 hours. Why this has been going on without much control is because the punitive measures in our policies and law books do not pose any serious deterrence.
MDA Debts: The accumulating debts of Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs), most residential customers and few Maximum Demand customers is a huge problem. The MDAs currently owe IBEDC about N6.89 billion. These have added to the challenge of funding which has continued to negatively affect operations such as transformers purchase and allocation, maintenance and upgrade of network infrastructure, efficient faults clearing, purchase of more operational vehicles, concrete poles, materials and equipment for effective service. Gradually meeting our basic financial obligation is becoming a pipe dream unless customers pay their bills promptly.
IBEDC is an entity established with the patriotic zeal to revamp the bourgeoning power sector. We believe in the emergence of a New Nigeria where things can work for the benefit of all and sundry. We are not losing faith and we will not give in. We are therefore using this advertorial to appeal to all our numerous valued customers and good-spirited members of the public to please support IBEDC to serve you better.
IBEDC, DISTRIBUTING POWER, CHANGING LIVES