…Constructs injection sub stations, roll out whistle blowing platforms
Head of Communications, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), Mr Emeka Ezeh, yesterday,paid a courtesy visit on the Managing Director of the Anambra Newspapers and Printing Company, ( publisher of National Light , Sportslight Xtra and Ka Ọ Dị Taa newspapers), where he highlighted the activities of the EEDC since inception and the efforts the company is making to get electricity supply and management in the South East, Nigeria, better. He spoke to CHUKA NNABUIFE, ROSE ORANYE and MAUREEN IKPEAMA
HEAD of Communications, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), Emeka Ezeh said that Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), has restated the organisations commitment towards providing better services for electricity consumers in South East zone.
Speaking to National Light in an interview, Mr Ezeh said the company inherited a sector which had been around for over two decades. “There is no way the sector could deliver the kind of service we want to deliver to our customers.
This is why we embarked on strategic moves to identify those areas within the network that will step in and improve and that has been on-going since last year. We x-rayed the network and identified these areas and we are working on them strategically. We started out with Enugu. Last year, we were in Enugu, we deloaded feeders, deployed relief transformers, we equally constructed the injection sub stations.
“The Nike injection sub-station is one of it. It was constructed within the last quarter of last year. We have improved availability of power to our customers within the Iji Nike Lake, Alulu and environs and also deloaded the Abakpa 1 feeder which was the feeder that was taking care of the area. Also in Nsukka, we constructed three feeders. New 33KV,UNN 33 KV, Orba 33KV and Wilson 11KV feeders. We have improved power supply to our customers to the area, thereby, deloading the Eha Amufu 33KV line which was the source of supply at that time”.
The EEDC spokesman said they had also identified industrial clusters. “The industries are the catalysts that will stimulate economic activities within the space and we focused on them, identified their clusters and improved the quality of service supply by the sub station. A typical example is the Emene industrial, also at Nnewi industrial, at Ogbaru industrial. These are the areas, including 3-3, also in Anambra. Ogbanufe, Nnewi are also in Anambra. These are the ones in Anambra State. Lately, we upgraded some of our injection substations.
“ Nibo was upgraded to 15 MKA, Agu Awka was also upgraded to injection sub station that was located at ABS. Those are the high level projects that we had embarked on.
“ Also, to address the issues around billing, a lot of our customers, each time we engage them, they talk about the billings , they talk about metering. We identified that most of the people that are using electricity are not paying for this service. Most of them are not even in our books as customers.
So, we embarked on enumeration and we are using GRS technology to enumerate the work and customers that are on to the grid and this has helped us; being that most of these customers that era using the electricity and they are not paying for it are not in our billing system. So, we begin to bill them. So, this is on-going and we intend to capture all assets we have within the network and customers that these assets are serving.
“Also, we have commenced what we call Distribution Transformer Metering, DTM. This is an arrangement where we read transformers we have within the disco so that at the end of the day, customers that are connected to the transformers will be billed within the readings of that transformer and the feeder and this feeder carries about 80 transformers and these transformers may be down and your feeder may be up and your customers are out of supply.
But with this. we can be able to ascertain which customer has used a particular point and bill them accordingly”.
He explained that there are billing methods they use that customers who are not in their billing system will have a billing method approved by the regulator. “We bill them based on availability of their lines and phase.
We have three phase customers. We have commercial customers and we have single phased customers. We bill them based on their tarrif. Remember that some of the customers that are within that are metered. Some are not metered. So, by the time we do that, the pressure will be reduced.
In addition, we encourage customers to always be on the lookout because if you have your neighbors that are stealing energy that are connected and are using electricity without paying, the impact will be on the customers who pay. If they have such situations in their areas, they report. Once this is reported, we investigate”.
Ezeh disclosed that they have whistle blowing platforms where customers could lodge their complaints. The phone line is, 084700110 and the e-mail is email@example.com.
Speaking on the issue of some customers that are on grid without metering, he said that they used Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) guidelines to bill them.
On the continuous calls by some pressure groups for EEDC to stop issuance of estimated bills to customers and to improve power supply in the zone, Ezeh said that “it is important for the pressure groups to first and foremost understand the electricity service industry, the value chain and their respective responsibilities and also the challenges faced by them. This will give them a better understanding and guide their reactions. Most of the issues raised are national issues and not peculiar to EEDC.
“Having said that, for our customers who enjoy our services, but are not metered, we bill them by estimation; and we have an approved methodology for billing such category of customers, designed by our regulator, NERC.
“It is however important to note that the huge number of customers that are not metered is as a result of the decades of neglect in the power sector, where meters were not deployed to customers. We have invested in metering and have been metering our customers, but because of the wide metering gap inherited by EEDC, there is no way all unmetered customers can be metered at the same time. We have so far brought over 250,000 customers on to our prepaid meter platform. Metering is a process which requires time and resources.
“ The interesting thing is that NERC, appreciating the challenge,, designed a metering program known as Meter Asset Provider (MAP), which allows customers to approach the meter providers to purchase meter and it will be installed for them within seven days of their payment for the meter. Our own MAP is Mojec International Limited, and we are already working with them to perfect the processes so that our customers can begin to approach them for their meters.
“ In addition, we have commenced our Distribution Transformer Metering (DTM) program, where all our public transformers are metered so that customers on a particular transformer will be billed according to the energy consumed by the transformer. We believe that this will go a long way in addressing the issues of billing.
“To improve availability and the quality of power supply to our customers in Anambra, we executed two major projects in Awka, They are the construction of a 1 x 7.5MVA Injection Substation at ABS, Awka, and upgrading of the 2 x 7.5MVA Injection Substation at Agu Awka to a 1 x 15MVA/1 x 7.5MVA Injection Substation. These projects have already improved supply to our customers in the areas affected.
“The 1 x 7.5MVA ABS Injection Substation has improved electricity supply to Okpuno, Isuaniocha, Mgbakwu, Urum and Amanuke communities and the university community; while the upgraded Agu-Awka Injection Substation has improved electricity supply to Awka Industrial Layout, Ifite, Agu-Awka GRA, parts of Nkwere Awka, UNIZIK, Amansea, Ebenebe, Ugbenu and Ugbene communities.”
“I wish to state that last year, EEDC delivered major network enhancement projects ranging from deloading of feeders, deployment of relief transformers and replacement of failed transformers. In Enugu State, EEDC completed and commissioned the 1 x 7.5 MVA Nike Lake Injection Substation at Nike, which greatly improved electricity supply to the entire Nike area and parts of Abakpa.
“In a related development, EEDC constructed three feeders to improve supply to her customers in Nsukka, they are the UNN 33KV, Orba 33KV and Wilson 11KV feeders. This has significantly improved power supply to the area and resulted to the deloading of Eha Amufu 33KV line.
“We have x-rayed our network, identifying areas that need critical attention with a view to strategically address them. It is not possible to attend to all the challenges at the same time, but there is a conscious effort by the business to deal with them and that has informed the investments in the network.
“These efforts underscore our organisation’s commitment to strategically address the power supply needs of our customers”.
Reacting to the rally held by Recover Nigeria Project, ASUU and Ourmumudondo, despite a court order procured by EEDC, the spokes person has this to say, “We feel that looking at all EEDC has done to improve the quality of supply in Awka, the rally was not necessary. We need our customers to understand and appreciate the challenges existing in the Nigerian Electricity Service Industry and not allow themselves to be manipulated by anyone or group.
“We also need them to appreciate the effort being made by EEDC in ensuring that these challenges are addressed despite the very scarce resources. Conscious effort is on by the company to continue to improve on the quality of service to customers; and this is going on across our network”.
Emeka disclosed that the EEDC has customer service centres across the south east states and 18 districts in Anambra State, as well as service centres. ” We always encourage customers to report any challenges they have. We have a register where they write their complaints and they will be attended to”.
Ezeh said that they had 24/7 call centres and there is an agent there to attend to customers.
On the challenges EEDC is facing, Ezeh said corruption and canalisation of EEDC’s installations are their major challenges. “Corruption is within us. Some customers engage on illega, bye-pass. They connive with some of our staff that are out of the company’s service to perpetuate evil”. He advised customers to deal with real staff. “They have their identification cards and the marketers’ names and phone numbers are printed on the bills so that it will be easy for customers to call them when they have problems”.
The spokesman hinted that the EEDC is conscious of the importance of customer relations, that’s why they introduced the program,- Know Your Customer( KYC). “ So that we can reach our customers, so that we can push our plans to them, so that they can know us. The customers may be having issues and nobody to attend to them.
If there are reports from the customers and they reported and nothing is done, the customers can report to the supervisors. The supervisors monitor our staff and anybody found wanting is disciplined. We have zero tolerance for corrupt activities”.
He added that there is a culture change that is going on in EEDC. “We have orientation for our staff .That mind set of public work is still there. These are some of the things we put in place to improve our customer relations,”
On the epileptic power supply in some areas, Ezeh said that, “Sometimes, it could be disconnection for non payment of electricity bills, vandalised transformers. Remember, we buy energy from Gencos and we sell to our customers. It is a circle”.
He advised consumers to report any case of vandalism of EEDC installations for a better service.
The EEDC head of Communications thanked the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, for providing a portion of land at the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS), where they constructed their 1*7 MVA injection substation.