The Managing Director/Chief Executive, Benin Electricity Distribution Plc (BEDC), Mrs. Funke Osibodu has affirmed that the improvement exercise embarked upon by the company in all spheres of its operations was to demonstrate its commitment to the provision of improved service delivery to customers.
She made the assertion at a Media parley organised by the company on Monday at its Headquarters in Benin.
In a statement, she stressed that in doing so, the company was mindful of the health and safety of the customers for instance in the supply of power to those on its connections.
The BEDC, she said, embarked on a door to door enumeration of existing customers and potential ones including the state of the network, saying that the exercise involved assessment of electricity load in each premises, filling out relevant forms and provision of acceptable identification by the occupiers of premises.
In order to provide better billing information to customers, BEDC, the MD added, has begun migration to a new billing system with effect from April saying that the new billing format commenced for all Maximum Demand (MD) customers in Edo while all other categories of customers in Delta, Ekiti and Ondo states would be moved to the new billing format within the next three months.
“Customers are to note the following relating to billing information: reading of customer’s meters is expected to be done monthly or at least once in 3 months. Whenever a reading is not done in any month, an adjustment of any estimate used in billing will be done within the subsequent reading.
Where a customer’s meter is found to be obsolete or incorrect, the meter reading will be suspended and estimated billing will be utilized prior to the replacement of the meter. Such suspension will be notified to the customer in a letter”, she said.
Osibodusaid the Enforcement and Monitoring unit of the company was set up to inspect premises of customers and ensure that connection to the network were in line with safety standards; that only paying customers were on the network and that bye pass or illegal connection to the network was not allowed to operate.
“Customers who have by-passed their meter by removing part or all of the electricity load from reading on the meter, will only be reconnected when they have paid the appropriate fine or penalty/loss of revenue as well as the reconnection fee”, she added.
Responding to questions on the civil society protest targeted at BEDC, the MD said most of the civil society members, who spearheaded such protests were found to be highly indebted to BEDC and were often accused of failing to honour their obligation to the company through prompt payment of bills Civil society activist, She explained to journalists that the reason why customers were experiencing power outages arising from inadequate supply, was due to the challenged posed by the inability of Generating Companies (GenCos) to generate more electricity for domestic and industrial needs.
She said there was a great challenge of power in Nigeria with less than 5,000 megawatts to a population of 170 million, stressing that the current energy output of less than 2,500megawatts was a reflection of the perennial energy crisis that was yet to be addressed.
The MD explained that the power sector has been starved with investment since 1984 whereas the country has increased in population and infrastructure, stressing that power is no longer a social but commercial commodity, which prices is determined by the forces of demand and supply.
She counselled customers on the recent tariff review, which saw a slight increase in tariff and removal of fixed charge, urging them to manage their consumption by switching off appliances when not in use.