The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) said that it has committed to invest N5.5 billion in the expansion of its network and supply of meters to all categories of customers between January and December 2016.
The Managing Director of IBEDC, Mr. John Donnachie, and his deputy, Mr. John Ayodele made the disclosure during a joint press conference to display a total of 210 11KVA panels; 33KV Circuit breakers and other equipment procured at the cost of billions of Naira to develop its network, said that the company had spent a total of N4.5 billion on metering and N1 billion on equipment for network development.
Donnachie said the new equipment would be used for some of the 122 substations within its operational area.
He said, “We are focused on metering and we will ensure that we develop proper metering programmes for our customers so that we can get out of estimated billing, and that is going to take some time. We have spent about N4.5bn on metering so far this year, and we will continue to drive this progress.
He added, ‘’The other key element is the network development, and what we are here to do today is to share what we are trying to do in this regard. You are going to see investment of over N1bn that just arrived in order to enhance customer service through network stabilisation and network development.”
Speaking at the press conference held at the Eleyele 2x15MVA 33/11KV injection substation, Ayodele said the IBEDC had put in place a new billing system to improve customer service.
He said the cost of running the business had increased dramatically, adding, “Our bill last month from the generator was N5.7 billion, compared to N3 billion in May. We could only charge N6 billion to the customers. So, if we collected 100 per cent of everything that we billed, we will not be able to pay salaries with the money left over.”
According to him, the company loses at least N1.8 billion monthly or 30 per cent of N6 billion due to refusal of customers to pay their bills.
He explained, “We are begging our consumers to please pay us, if the consumers of electricity don’t pay their electric bills, then there won’t be money to fund the project because we can say that a minimum of 46 per cent of our customers are not paying. One way or the other they get electricity and this is not fair to the industry.”
“Fundamentally, the liquidity issues in the business are well known. We are short at list a trillion naira in the industry, we currently have issues around last year and the exchange issues are currently affecting us and we have no way of currently collecting the money that people owe us.”
He added, “The exchange rate going close to ₦450 is a major problem to our industry and how to solve this issue is still yet unknown to us at the moment, and we currently owe N45 billion to supply and that is why we don’t have money. Any of our charges has to be at the exchange rate of what we have at the moment, and people keep saying we are charging high. We are committed this year to deliver our best and more will be spent this year.”