24 March 2015, Lagos – The Ikeja Electricity Distribution Plc has blamed the poor electricity supply in many areas under its network on low allocation of power from the national grid.
Customers under the network, especially those around Ikeja, Ogba and Agege areas have accused the company of epileptic supply and extortion, as they do not enjoy up to six hours of supply in a week but are also forced to pay outrageous monthly bills.
THISDAY also gathered that customers in many parts of the network, especially Okeira area, have not been getting supply for the past one month but some members of staff of the company still go to the areas to extort money from customers.
The customers have also threatened to embark on street protests against the company for the outrageous bills and poor services.
However, a source at the company told THISDAY that the poor supply is as a result of low allocation from the grid, stressing that the Ogba Business Unit, for instance, requires 45 megawatts to service the customers but is getting only about 20 megawatts.
He added that despite the challenges, the supply situation in those areas is not as poor as the customers have alleged.
Also speaking on the poor allocation from the national grid during a customer forum in Lagos, Ikeja Electric’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Abiodun Ajifowobaje explained that the company requires at least 1,250MW to effectively serve customers within its network, but has consistently received only about 400MW for the past two weeks.
Attributing the drop in power supply to low allocation of power to the company from the National Grid, he appealed to customers for understanding, stating that Ikeja Electric remains committed to equitable distribution of the power it receives from the grid.
“Ikeja Electric requires at least 1,250MW to effectively serve customers within its network, but we consistently receive only about 400MW for the past two weeks. You all are aware of the gas challenges as well as the activities of vandals. The government and stakeholders in the sector are working assiduously to tackle these issues and ultimately the reform will transform power supply in Nigeria,” he said.
Ajifowobaje said equipment vandalism remains one of the greatest factors militating against stable power supply within the network of the company.
He disclosed that in 2015 alone, over seventy transformers have been lost to vandalism within Ikeja Electric network.
He decried the increase in vandalism and called on the community to assist the company in stemming this tide.
“Whilst we will continue to partner with Security Agencies to protect our equipment, it is not feasible to man all our equipment across the network for 24 hours a day. We therefore call on community leaders through vigilante groups to assist in this regard,” he said.
On the issue of outrageous bills, he said the planned introduction of smart metering infrastructure will ultimately address the need for estimation in billing and energy theft.
According to him, the metering infrastructure will also enable a prompt and improved response to the vandalism of the distribution network.
Ajifowobaje explained that the necessary financial and technical commitment needed to achieve a new metering regime had since been put in place.
“We have and will continue to make huge investments in this regard and assure all our customers that the impending roll-out of smart meters will drive effective and transparent billing within the network. We will surely work with all customers to ensure the success of the project even as we remain committed to continuing engagements on the issue of billing estimates,” he told the company’s customers.
According to him, Ikeja Electric has since concluded the comprehensive study and technical evaluation of the network through the assistance of its technical partner, Korean Electricity Power Company (KEPCO) .
He also stated that the company is also carrying out Asset GIS mapping and customer enumeration, adding that the completion of these exercises will facilitate effective planning for future development and reduction of technical and commercial loss levels.
Ajifowobaje told the customers that Ikeja Electric had introduced new payment channels which have made payment of electricity bills easy and less stressful.
– This Day