The Benin Electricity Distribution Plc have revealed plans to embark on massive metering of its customers in Edo, Ondo, Delta and Ekiti State, assuring customers of its determination to provide quality service delivery.
The Head, BEDC, Delta State, Mr Ernest Edgar gave this assurance in Warri during BEDC Customers Public Forum held at the Mom Civic Centre, Warri.
He said that inspite of the challenges faced by the BEDC, it is going to make sure that customers got the needed service delivery, urging customers to pay their bills and avoid all forms of illegal deals with some corrupt BEDC staff.
He lamented the high rate of theft of BEDC equipment by vandals who have made it very difficult for them to perform maximally.
“I also want to emphasise on this issue of vandalism and violence. The level of violence and vandalisation in Delta State is on the increase. This year alone, I know that three people have been jailed and I must commend the judiciary for that,” he said.
The Delta State BEDC boss who spoke at the interactive session noted that people must do their part as customers and try to pay all outstanding debts they are owing BEDC, saying that was the only way BEDC will work effectively.
Mr Edgar who responded to many questions from the audience explained that the reason why there was the shortage of power in the country was because of many factors which include gas pipeline vandalism that has made gas to scarce.
He also explained that the Nigerian Electric Regulatory Commission, NERC has directed all Distribution Companies in the country to stop collecting money from customers who want to buy the meter, adding that henceforth, meters will be given to customers free of charge.
He said the distribution of the meters have already started and that BEDC will distribute meters to all its customers within three to four years as they cannot provide meters to all their customers within one year.
He said BEDC will make sure that the meters gets to all its customers but called for patience on their part, stressing that BEDC does not have the funds to provide meters for everybody at the same time.
According to him, the metering will be done in badges and that by the end of five years, every house would have been metered.
He also added the Minister of Power has set a machinery in motion to ensure that Government Ministries and agencies who are owing BEDC pay up their debts to ensure a smooth running of the BEDC.
He said, “BEDC receives nine percent of what is available at the national grid. BEDC covers four states namely, Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states. Once the national grid has challenges, the available power to BEDC reduces. Standard practice all over the world is that for every one million population, they should consume Ten Thousand megawatts. Now that the country is boasting of about 160 million people, then we should be talking about a Hundred and something megawatts”.
“The Minister also said that there is a major liquidity problem which they are working on. He said they are in various degrees of discussion with the world bank on how to resolve this liquidity problem. So we need to address the issue where the challenge really is.
He added that;”The Hon. Minister has set up a working committee with all the distribution companies on how to settle the bills of government Ministries and Agencies.
“The committee is working assiduously to ensure that the debts are reconciled and the government has given us a commitment to pay.”