An adage says, A monkey sweats. Only that the hair on its body makes it less obvious is an apt replica of the ‘unappreciated’ efforts of our DISCOs in Nigeria.
The harsh economic realities facing businesses in Nigeria today, has dealt many businesses with huge blows.
It has led to an increased cost of doing business due to the scarcity of forex in the country.
Due to these realities, experts in Nigeria’s power sector have called for improvement in the operations of distribution companies as well as the sector’s regulator, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The stakeholders noted that while Nigerians and the utility companies are all battling with rising insecurity and harsh conditions of living, there was need for accountability, strong regulation, prompt payment of electricity tariff and strong policies that would address the gloomy state of the nation’s power sector.
The vibrant Eko Electricity Distribution Company, EKEDC is not left out in these harsh realities. Electricity distribution companies have, therefore, increased the tariff payable by power consumers across the country. This is a result of the harsh economic realities in Nigeria currently.
For EKEDC, the recent increase in tariff is limited to consumers under Band A and B, which were customers who get an average of 16-20 hours electricity supply, adding that the differential was N8 increment.
Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) is, however, worried over its loss of over N1.2 billion of its assets and electrical installations to vandalism alone in 2022. The company is being challenged by frequent cases of vandalism on its network in spite of the campaign against it.
Just last week, the MD, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Tinuade Sanda disclosed that Ministries, Departments and Agencies owe the Disco N40bn as of December 2022. According to her, the company’s total debt profile stood at a whooping sum of N116bn as of December 2022.
These challenges have adversely affected the supply of power to our customers.
Despite this, customers enjoy the beautiful start of the year, with EKEDC. They are hopeful that this year will again be exceptional for EKO Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC). The company has added two districts in Ajah and Ibeju in order to reach out more to its customers.
EKEDC has shown interest to work towards ensuring a minimum 20 hours electricity supply as we continue to get electricity from the power grid. Installation of transformers is still ongoing, and we have done 80 out of 150. We are moving closer and closer to our consumers. We tend to decentralise more so that our consumers can reach us.”
No doubt, over the years, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, under the leadership of Tinuade Sanda, has proven to be a risk manager, through its efficiency. Under her, EKEDC has strived to provide uninterrupted power supply to its teeming customers, notwithstanding cable theft and other challenges facing it.
True, the company, like other DISCOS may have had it rough over the years, but it is still standing strong and serving its customers better.
Non-Technical losses in the power sector are almost non-existent or negligibly small in developed countries, as most of the population can afford or willing to pay tariffs reflecting costs of supply (even if they are higher than those reflecting optimised performance of the service providers).
This year, the Government should be actively involved in supporting DISCOs in improving their services. It could introduce measures practised in other countries to address revenue collections problem faced by the Discos, particularly to recover the huge accumulated bills owed by MDAs.
Culprits of electricity theft must also be dealt with by the government and it should enact Laws to try offenders through a tribunal. This will ensure speedy trial of defaulters including utility staff who collide with the public to perfect this criminal act. This will help the Discos, like EKEDC in reducing collection losses.
It is pertinent to also call on customers, security agencies, media and the public to be vigilant and assist in the fight against vandalism on the company’s network to put an end to the incessant acts of vandalism this year.
The public should report shady deals or any person(s) posing as staff of Eko Disco to the security agencies or contact the company through its various whistleblower channels.
Olamide Adeniji is a member of the editorial team of TheScript Newspaper