By Adeola Badru
The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), yesterday, identified energy theft, vandalism as bane of electricity distribution in the country, while calling for a drastic end to the menace.
The association said energy theft and vandalism have impacted negatively on
the performance of distribution companies as well as the amount of energy distributed to electricity consumers.
The Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, ANED, Sunday Oduntan, made the call during an interaction session with electricity consumers within the network of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), held in Ibadan.
The session, with the theme: ‘Building Consumer Awareness and Strengthening the Customer Service Capacity of Electricity Distribution Companies’ was supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
Oduntan maintained that energy theft and vandalism of properties can be tackled through collaboration between communities and DisCos. He called on communities to guard their properties against vandals and to report energy theft through by-passing, to DisCos.
He said: “The amount of energy that is stolen in this country is so much that it has impacted our ability to deliver service. I told the customers here that in a community, transformers are not put inside the bush or by the corner. People need to secure their transformers to enable us to provide the service that they need.”
“The way forward is more collaboration and cooperation between the service providers and the communities and more communication. Sometimes, there is a disconnect in terms of awareness. We need to let our customers know what we are doing and what we need to do.”
“Electricity supply has improved in recent weeks all over the country but we are not there yet; we are not where we need to be.”
He noted that electricity consumers should get rid of the notion that power supply is a social service to be provided by the government while adding that the electricity business should be treated like every other business that incurs costs and needs money to be effectively run.
While making a presentation on metering, Sodiq Raheed, a metering engineer, noted that IBEDC, through the introduction of prepaid meters, aims to eradicate the challenge faced by consumers as a result of estimated billing.
Rasheed said this informed the introduction of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) and when this became insufficient to meet demand, the Meter Asset Providers Scheme (MAPS) was launched to enable customers to get prepaid meters within 24 hours.
The Head, Customer Service, IBEDC, Funmilayo Adeshoga, who was represented by the Assistant Manager, Customer Service, IBEDC, Olukemi Olaleye, said the company’s customer service unit was poised to attend to all its customers’ complaints.
“Your feedback to us is a complaint and complaint is a good thing because that would give us the idea of where we are lagging and how we can brace up. For IBEDC, we have different channels for laying complaints,” Olaleye said.
In her opening remarks, the Head, Branding and Corporate Communications, IBEDC, Angela Olanrewaju, said the session was organised to feel the pulse of customers and communicate the company’s efforts toward service delivery.
Regional Head, Ibadan, IBEDC, Olumide Akinmusire, while speaking on ‘IBEDC’s effort at improving service delivery and new initiatives,’ noted that the company is improving its services through the creation of a customer service desk across its service centres, a 12-hour operational call centre, whistleblower policy and multiple payment channels.
Other presentations were delivered by Regional Head, Oyo, IBEDC, Gboyega Agunlejika on ‘How to identify your tariff band as a customer’ and Regulatory Standard Officer, IBEDC, Ayodeji Ajayi on ‘Community-related issues, procedures for connecting communities to the national grid,’ among others.