Benin Electricity Distribution Plc. (BEDC) has become the first electricity distribution company to emerge a winner in the maiden edition of the Electronic Payments Incentives Scheme (EPIS) Efficiency Award as it emerged the best Cashless Driver-Corporate category.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Interbank Settlement Scheme (NIBSS) Plc initiated the award, according to a statement from BEDC.

The award was presented to the Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Mr. Ernest Edgar, who represented BEDC at the event, for the company’s outstanding contributions to the growth of electronic payment industry in Nigeria and for pushing deeper, the adoption of e-payment platforms in the electricity distribution industry, in line with CBN’s Cashless policy anchored on electronic payment system as contained in Vision PSV 2020.

The Cashless Driver Corporate category, which had two corporate nominees, BEDC and Ikeja Electric, is a platform to recognise, appreciate and reward stakeholders, notably in the payment industry, such as banks, payment processors, card issuers, payment terminal service providers, mobile money operators as well as government and private sector companies that have contributed to the success of the cashless initiative across the value chain.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, CBN Deputy Governor Operations, Alhaji Suleiman Barau and MD/CEO, NIBSS, Mr. Adebisi Shonubi said: “Benin Electricity Distribution Plc is presented with the award for the company’s outstanding performance in driving the CBN’s Cashless initiative by recording the highest transactions count in NIBSS Electronic bills payment platform for the year 2015.”

BEDC operates a multi-channel payment system for settlement of electricity bills by customers including Point of Sales (POS), and web-based payment apart from bank payment platforms, while Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and scratch card payment cards are in the pipeline. The company has also started the electronic payment scheme for customers to enjoy online vending of meter tokens for prepaid meters, and also get payment alerts on every electricity payment made.

The NIBSS stated that the objective of the EPIS annual award is to drive innovation, performance and efficiency in the Nigerian payment space, adding that the primary focus of the Efficiency award is to also appreciate and reward stakeholders of electronic payments in Nigeria.

It will be recalled that the electronic payment incentive scheme is an initiative of the CBN, Bankers Committee and Nigerian banks to promote electronic payment in the country, especially among those who use cards to pay for gods and services including electricity bills.