Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc (IBEDC) has said it plans to invest over N91 billion in the automation of its operation for seamless service delivery to customers as well as on network expansion and prepaid meters. The investment plan is anchored on the company’s five-year plan.
The DisCo said the aim of the investment is to improve “energy availability, customer experience, access to the network for new customers, customer communication (response to complaints, electricity management, etc.), corporate social responsibility program, reduce ATC&C losses and reduce operating cost.”
While addressing journalists at its mid-year press conference on Tuesday, the DisCo’s Chief Business Transformation Officer, Mr Iranola Ayodeji, said despite the huge losses it incurred in 2020, it is taking extra measures to invest in the business to make the provision of better services to its customers a reality.
He regretted that huge debt, including from government agencies, are inhibiting its efforts.
According to him, “NMD customers (that makes up 95 per cent of IBEDC customer base) do not pay their bills fully, even those that are metered. MDAs are owing over N8.552 billion, as of 2020. Thus, DisCos are making huge losses monthly. DisCos’ losses make it difficult for investors (both local and foreign) to invest in the industry.”
He broke down the MDAs debt as thus: Federal Government MDAs, N7.216 billion; state governments, N1.151 billion and local governments, N185 million.
Beyond the MDAs, the DisCo said it “incurred a loss of N56.1 billion in 2020 on energy alone, that is, without other costs like salaries, operating expenses.” This, it blamed on the inability of its customers to pay their bills.
On the other hand, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, John Ayodele, said the DisCo has the intention of metering all its customers, adding that estimated billing does not favour the DisCo. According to him, some customers feel better being billed based on estimations to the detriment of IBEDC, hence their refusal to accept prepaid meters.
He, however, quipped that, while some customers reject prepaid meters, others have accepted the meters and are making accurate use of them.
Ayodele reiterated IBEDC’s commitment to providing better services, even in the face of what he called the refusal of the government to invest in the sector since its privatisation.
He pleaded with customers to safeguard electricity installations in their localities and not collaborate with criminal elements to vandalise the installations, noting that while vandalism brings losses to the company, the customers who fail to report vandals in their localities end up experiencing service disruptions due to the vandalism.