Lagos — Kaduna Electric has lamented huge unpaid electricity bills in Kebbi, Kaduna, Zamfara and Sokoto states, saying the debts running into billions of naira is affecting its ability to guarantee constant power supply.
Commenting on complaints of unsteady power supply in areas of its operations, Kaduna Electric said that, while it was “deeply concerned” at such reports, customers have not reciprocated the huge investments it has made in infrastructure and information technology “by paying their bills promptly.”
it cited the case of Kebbi State which it said the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, identified as one of its franchise states that enjoy 24-hour power supply in the country. However, it said with a “billing of over N900 million per month in the state, due to increase in power supply, the collections in the state is just between 15% to 20% which is about N200 million.”
It continued: “Our average monthly billing in Kaduna state stands at about N2.2 billion but our monthly collection only averages N800 million. In Sokoto state, our average collection is about N200 million against a monthly billing of about N500 million. The situation is not any different in Zamfara state where we bill about N400 million monthly but are only able to recover N100 million per month.”
Kaduna Electric said that, since it took over in 2014, it had made huge investments in revamping the dilapidated network infrastructure it inherited and also invested heavily in ICT infrastructure to make its operations and access to services much easier to customers. “The challenge of non-payment of bills, energy theft, meter bypass and tampering and vandalism of our equipment have continued to undermine our efforts,” the company said, adding “despite these, we have resolved to provide adequate supply to our customers.”
It called on the public to report all forms of extortion and harassment that hinder customers from getting service and payment of their bills, and also advised customers “to desist from encouraging fraudulent activities, meter bypass and all forms of energy theft.”
it added: “We urge our customers to note that it is a criminal offense to tamper with electrical equipment. A huge penalty including jail time is prescribed for offenders. In compliance with the NERC regulation, we shall soon be unveiling the Meter Asset Provider programme where meter vendors will be reaching out to customers for meter supply and installations. Kaduna Electric is a privately owned company which purchases electricity and sells to its customers. We need the support of all stakeholders especially our esteemed customers to enable us continue the supply of power 24/7.”