The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) has said that payment of outstanding debt by government’s ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) is of paramount importance if the electricity supply industry is to survive in Nigeria.
The company said the country’s electricity industry was in dire straits due to huge unpaid debt and this informed its recent decision to publish disconnection notices to all MDAs indebted to it.
The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Jay McCoskey reiterated in a statement at the weekend that the refusal of MDAs to pay their long-standing debts represented the biggest worry of the distribution companies in the country.
According to him, distribution companies were already grappling with too many issues such that adding MDAs would constitute a burden too big for the industry to bear.
“As a distribution company, PHED inherited a weak network, a relatively small customer base compared to the population, massive electricity theft and several other social ills related to electricity supply. For MDAs therefore to join these barrage of problems by continuously refusing bills payment is like a death sentence to the industry,” he explained.
McCoskey added that given the huge revenue shortfall that PHED like other distribution companies were experiencing, mass disconnection would have to be done to force a change in the payment habits of consumers.
“We have issued disconnection notices to all MDAs while at the same time engaging all other indebted customers to ensure that they paid their bills. The industry no longer runs on government subvention,” he said.
McCoskey said further that there would be marked improvement in service delivery once there were better collections from customers, especially MDAs, adding that PHED had already demonstrated this by recent initiatives that it had embarked upon.
“Our goal is to provide our customers reliable service in terms of power supply and overall customer experience. That is why we recently launched a 24×7 call centre and invested heavily in several building commercial lines that provide dedicated power to commercial users. We believe that by giving power to companies, factories and industrial outfits, such organisations will be able to continue to produce their goods and offer services competitively and keep people employed. We hope that we will get government support through prompt payment of bills and historical debts by MDAs,” he explained.
Port Harcourt Disco, which operates in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers states, is owed N6.8 billion by government establishments – comprising ministries and departments, military formations, and security agencies.
Other distribution companies are being owed as follows: Abuja Disco – N18.6 billion, Eko Disco – N8.6 billion, Kaduna – N8.2 billion, Enugu- N7.2 billion, Ibadan- N6.8 billion, Ikeja- N5.9 billion, Benin – N5.8 billion, Jos – N6.5 billion, Yola – N2.4 billion and Kano – N1.2 billion.