THERE is no end in sight for the estimated billings being slammed on electricity consumers under the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company as the company has insisted that it cannot continue its metering scheme under the present high cost of foreign exchange. This is coming as the company claimed it invested about N11 billion on network expansion projects within its franchise area in the last three years.
At a recent roundtable with the media, Anthony Youdeowei, acting chief executive officer of the company, said the company would continue to bill its customers by estimation.
According to him, before they take over the assets of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, the new owners did not envisage the enormity of the decay of the facilities.
He apologised for the shortcomings of the company in turning things around and promised to ensure that the billing system is reasonable. “Metering is a huge problem. Estimated billing is here to stay for a while but we want it to be reasonable. Before privatisation, many projections were made, like metering and all of that were done with good and sincere intentions, but again there is the social component to it.
“There were things we did not do well, and we didn’t know about some of the labour issues. Today, we are a service delivery company unlike NEPA that was an engineering company…”
Youdeowei said it would be a disservice to continue to defend what is not realisable. He said the company had set out to meter all trading points from the Feeder to distribution transformers and down to consumers.
According to him, the idea is to determine the power supplied to a particular area and then bill customers along such consideration. “We have problem of FOREX but we are still ordering meter but the pace is slow, single phase meter landing cost is about N100,000 and maximum return is 10 percent and this takes about seven years to recover cost of a meter,” he said.
— Dec 12, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT