…As customers’ debt profile climbs N25bn
Mkpoikana Udoma 14 December 2015, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Port-Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHED, has commenced a special programme designed to aid customers to pay up their outstanding electricity bills.
The scheme tagged, “PHED Debt Discount Promotion” kicked off in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, and will run across all the states in the company’s network coverage, namely Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers.
The company said the scheme would give a 10 per cent discount to customers who have unsettled bills accumulated between November 1, 2013 and December 31, 2014.
Speaking at the flag-off of the exercise, the Managing Director of PHED, Mr. Matthew Edevbie, said customers’ indebtedness was a growing problem that is confronting the electricity supply industry in Nigeria.
According to him, “The Nigerian electricity supply industry is today faced with many difficulties namely, insufficient power generation and distribution, inadequate infrastructure occasioned by years of investment neglect, willful infrastructure damage and huge revenue losses among others.
“Aside these, there is also electricity theft, outright refusal by customers to pay for service under various guises as well as physical assault of electricity workers. Notable among these problems is customer payment apathy that has created a huge debt burden that is making service provision increasingly difficult for electricity distribution companies.”
According to him, this situation was negatively impacting on services of all players in the value chain, noting that as at December 2014, customers owed PHED over N14.3billion in unpaid bills and that the figure now is around N25billion.
He stated that a solution needed to be found to the issue, necessitating PHED to design the promo.
The debt discount exercise, according to the managing director, was just one of several components of the exercise which include accounts reconciliation, correction of duplicated accounts and reconnection of disconnected customers.
PHED, he explained, would ensure that all issues surrounding customers’ accounts, including complaints about billing methodology and tariff classification, are dealt with during the promo.