The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) claims its customers in Niger State owe N49.58 billion debt in electricity bills. The issue of debt in electricity bills is one that has bewildered the power distribution companies (DisCos) nationwide. It is in this light that the AEDC which supplies electricity to Federal Capital Territory, Kogi, Nasarawa and Niger has stated the total arrears on customers bills in Niger.
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The situation was made known by the the Managing Director, Engr. Ernest Mupwaya during a presentation at the Niger State Council on Quality and Constant Electricity Supply in Minna, the Niger State capital. He said, annually, the Distribution Company (DisCo) incurs an average debt accumulation of N11.48bn, and that the total debt owed by both small and large electricity customers has risen to N49.58bn.
Mupwaya acknowledged the desire of the people of the State to have significant improvement in power supply, but emphasized that such increase in electricity supply must be matched by an equal level of payment to sustain the company. He also emphasized the efforts of AEDC to improve power supply to the region saying Niger has been getting 20 per cent of the DisCo’s energy allocation from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) since 2016. Mupwaya however noted that of the average N1.5bn electricity supply bill delivered to the Niger Region monthly, only about N450 million revenue is collected.
In an attempt at ensuring their customers of improved services, Mr Ahmed Shekarau, a spokesman for AEDC noted that;
“However, because we know that our customers in Niger State, just as in the FCT, Kogi and Nasarawa states, are anxious to have meters, we are considering putting bulk meters at transformer points so that clusters of customers such as villages or estates would be billed in accordance with readings taken from such meters.”
A resolution was passed at the meeting to set up a 15-man joint Niger Stakeholders-AEDC Committee to develop a comprehensive mechanism on improving electricity supply in the state with a corresponding increase in bills payment. The committee to be chaired by the Niger State Commissioner for Works, Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe will comprise three representatives from the state government, three from AEDC, two from the youth groups, and one each from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), TCN, the security agencies and the media.
Earlier, the Niger State Deputy Governor and Chairman of the Council, Alhaji Ahmed Muhammad Ketso, said the administration is passionate about improving electricity just as the residents are yearning for improvement in power supply which gave rise to convening the meeting to seek solutions. Participants at the meeting acknowledged the challenges facing AEDC even as they appeal to the company to do more to ensure improved power supply.