Benin Disco worried over N25.3bn debt

Power transmission grid17 March 2014, Benin – The Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) has expressed worry over the N25.3 billion electricity bills it inherited from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCH) last November.

The amount which also include contestable estimated bills, was part of the company asset and liabilities across Ondo, Ekiti, Delta and Edo States that make up the Benin zone.
It said there were 8,000 backlog of meters paid for by customers before May 2013 under the previous regime; high volume of estimated billing and liabilities from the PHCN and power theft, saying only 48 per cent of consumers pay for the power they consume.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, BEDC Mrs. Funke Osibodu, made this known at an interactive session with the media at the weekend in Benin City.

“The money include contestable bills. However, the account is yet to be audited. We are now more aggressive in our drive for revenue generation to provide power for customers who pay electricity bills. Meters are available, but they are not available for those 8,000 customers, she said.
Osibodu, who noted that about N45 billion was required by the company to sustain steady power supply for the next five years, added that the company’s first four months of operation was a period of shadow operation, in which they tried to understand the terrain, as well as intimate themselves with the challenges facing the power distribution sector, and how to tackle them.
She disclosed that of the 2,500- 4,000 megawatts of power available to Nigeria, only 650 megawatts was available to BEDC which covers Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti States is grossly inadequate for consumers.

According to her, “the BEDC uses 650 megawatts of the 2,500 to 4,000 available; and it is grossly inadequate for the 150 million people in Nigeria.”

She said there are 77 local governments under the BEDC, with 3.7 million households, 13.2 million population and that available statistics indicates only 700,000 consumers use power.
Presenting a paper on the journey of the new company so far, the management assured its customers of the plan to set up customers call centres to deal with complaints of outrageous billing and a workable methodology that would allow customers to use Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and POS to recharge, especially during at weekends.

She listed some of its challenges to include, illegal connections, power theft, inadequate metering, inadequate power supply, low level of information, poor health and safety practice and poor maintenance practice.


– This Day

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