The Management of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) on Wednesday said it had invested over N9.5 million to replace obsolete facilities and re-route faulty underground cables within its network.
Mr Godwin Idemudia, General Manager, Communication, EKEDC, said in Lagos that the replacement was part of the company’s efforts to ensure effective electricity supply to its customers.
He said the replacement within its network became necessary to guard against frequent cable damage and loss of lives through accidents and activities of vandals.
He lamented that as the company proceeded with its commitment to optimal service delivery to customers, some unfortunate incidents appeared to stain the gains of the company’s efforts.
“Many obsolete underground cable and bad feeder lines had been replaced. We have already slated all underground cables within our network to be converted to surface.
On metering, Idemudia said that the company had spent over 9.7 million dollars to procure about 57, 500 smart meters for customers.
He said to tackle the metering challenge; a total of 7,500 maximum demand meters had been procured at N2.8 billion, while another 50,000 meters for non-maximum demand customers were procured.
“These meters constitute only the first phase of our metering plan that will see our customers close to 400,000 metered free-of-charges.
“Installation of the first phase meters both for maximum demand and non-maximum demand customers has already begun.
“Though it will not be possible for us to reach all customers at the same time, the assurance for all customers is that in the end, everyone will be metered with smart meters free-of-charges,” he said.
The EKEDC spokesman appealed to customers within its network to ensure adequate payment of their utility bills.
He said that the company’s debt profile stood at N78 billion “being debts owed by customers within our network to date’’.
“Out of this, the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) owe over N8.9 billion to date. We have designed strategies to embark on mass disconnection of all debtors.
“We have also discussed with authorities of the military, navy, police and MDAs on how to settle their debts and we have been assured of payment very soon,’’ he said.
Idemudia urged consumers to pay their outstanding debts, adding that it would be difficult to sustain the supply of electricity in the zone with the huge debt.
He said vandalism of electricity equipment and other public utilities was a serious act of economic sabotage and should be treated as such.
He said sales of public power equipment such as transformers, aluminum conductors and armoured cables should be regulated to make it difficult for vandalised electricity equipment to be taken to open market for sale.
He also stressed the need for quick trial and determination of cases of vandalism through special courts.
The EKEDC spokesperson said that 25 distribution transformer substations were vandalised, thereby throwing the communities being supplied from the stations into darkness.
“Apart from throwing communities into darkness, the cost of replacing vandalised equipment is colossal and we can no longer bear such costs,’’ he said.
He, therefore, urged Community Development Associations and other well-meaning community members to be on alert and assist the power company in curbing equipment vandalism in their localities.
He also called for the continued support of the police, the Department of State Security and other security agencies to end the vandalism of electrical equipment.