By Laleye Dipo in Minna
Barely two weeks after youths in Niger State asked the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) to “pack and go” from the state over alleged non-performance, the AEDC has said that it has not been making profit since it started operation in its franchise areas five years ago.
The AEDC, which is charged with the responsibility of supplying electricity to Niger, Kogi, Kwara States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), blamed the situation on the obsolete equipment it inherited from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria when the organisation was privatised.
The General Manager, Corporate Communications, Mr Israel Fadipe, who disclosed this while speaking at the launch of a new Energy magazine, “Power Update Magazine”, which debuted in Minna on Saturday, said some of the equipment inherited by the AEDC “are as old as 115 years”.
Fadipe, who represented the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, Mr Ernest Mukwoya, at the event said: “Whatever we are using today has lasted 115 years. For you to replace these items, we need time and money. We have to understand too that the power sector is capital intensive.”
He also said that the tariff being charged presently cannot meet the cost of production, adding that the AEDC paid N10 billion for the supply of pre-paid meters for sometime now but has been able to receive only 300,000 pieces of the equipment which he said were grossly inadequate for customers in its franchise areas.
“We are not making profit. The fact remains that we are not getting back the money we are supposed to get,” Fadipe said.
He also blamed the epileptic power supply in the country on the inability of the country to provide electricity to all towns and cities in Nigeria after more 150 years that electricity came into the country and the vandalism of installed equipment.
“Power sector is where it is today because for over 150 years we cannot electrify all our towns and cities, we are a complete failure as a nation as far as electricity is concerned.
“The media should hold the people accountable to the government. The media should mount a vigorous campaign against vandalism; we should stop stealing energy,” he said.
Fadipe however raised the hope of electricity consumers who had paid for pre paid meters before the new policy, asking such people to apply attaching the tellers they used to pay as evidence, assuring them that “we will do something about it”.
According to him, under the new regulation, customers without meters will no longer be provided with electricity.
The general manager assured electricity consumers in Niger State of improved services, saying that the recent drop in supply was as a result of the collapse of the national grid which is a nationwide matter.
The Publisher of the Magazine, Mr Abdulhamid Idowu Adedina, said the publication is to expose the problems electricity distributors in the country are facing side by side with the challenges of customers.
Adeshina said the monthly magazine would also carry out indepth reports on alternative sources of energy for publication as a way of improving power supply in the country.