Electricity: Eko Disco pledges to improve hourly supply to customers
….. To install 150,000 prepaid in 2023
By Yusuf Yunus
Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), has promised to improve its electricity supply to customers within the network.
The Disco also said it would continue to make more efforts in reducing fraud, vandalism and energy theft within its network operations.
Dr Tinuade Sanda, Chief Executive Officer, EKEDC, gave the assurance at the customers interactive forum held at its Apapa Business Unit on Thursday in Lagos.
The customers at the forum were drawn from various areas under the Apapa district which include Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Amukoko, Badia, Ajegunle, Tolu community, Plaza, Idewu, Odofin, Sari, Boundary and Apapa.
Sanda, represented by the company’s Chief Commercial Officer, Mrs Rekhiat Momoh, said that EKEDC would reduce power supply outage and increase prepaid installation efforts to bridge the metering gap by end of 2023.
She said that over 100 cases of transformers vandalisation was recorded in various communities under its network in 2023.
Sanda said that the essence of the meeting was to interact with customers directly on issues of concern and address them instantly.
She said that each of the vandalised transformers replaced cost over a million naira, adding that this also impacted on the revenue of the DisCo.
According to her, the situation is rampant within the company’s network, particularly in Surulere and Apapa.
“This is a major problem that is faced by every Disco and not just EKEDC alone.
“The message for the forum is tagged, “If you see something, you say something”. That is the truth because we have recorded a lot of cases of vandalism and energy theft.
“So, the essence of today’s meeting was to tell the customer that they should speak out when they see things happening in their environment, especially when people are stealing energy or our transformers was being vandalised,” she added.
On meter, Sanda said that the company target to install about 150,000 pre-paid electricity meters before end of the year, adding that the DisCo had installed over 80,000 meters to date.
She said that the company’s expectations was that more customers would apply for meters and which is expected to hit 100, 000 metering by December.
The EKEDC helmsman said that the company’s energy losses was quite high, hovering between 20 per cent and 28 per cent on average.
She said that the company had commenced installation of meters on poles, outside premises, to curb energy theft.
Sanda said: This process to install meter outside premises, in my opinion, is the best solution towards energy theft.
“Because once these meters are installed in their bedrooms and sitting rooms, other people will not have access to it and you will agree with me that it is easy to know when a thief is stealing.
“You will not have access to it when you have it on the pole and high up, you will know whether they are bypassing meters or not.
“The losses are quite high, it is almost every Discos, to be very honest with you. In EKEDC yesterday, it was actually 24.5 per cent losses.
“Also our revenue collections within the network on average stood at 85 per cent.
“We have shared the whistle blowing number with the community leaders. So, our expectations is that once they suspect someone, they can whistle blow to us and they will be covered, we are not going to reveal their identity,” Sanda explained.
She said that the company had urged various communities within the network to engage security personal in securing electricity equipment in their neighbourhood.
Also, Mrs Sheri Adegbenro, Chief Audit and Compliance Officer, EKEDC, said there had been improvement in power supply across board.
“For today, one of the key take away that everybody has been saying, even the Kabiyesi, is that there has been improvement and we cannot take that from the effort of the company and of the community.
“There has been improvement in our power supply across board. That is one of the things that is good in all.
“Vandalism is one thing that has been mention as well. But again, it has to be both company and also the community that will actually assist with that,” she said .
On 2023 International Fraud Awareness Week, Adegbenro urged community to report any suspected cases of vandalism or fraud, whether from external or other customers that actually leave within the community or even internal employee.
“Whatever it is when something just look off, a red flag and they need to seek clarification, please report to us immediately, giving us the details of the situation.
“Then we will investigate to know whether it is just a misunderstanding, whether we need to actually take action because there is a vandalism taken place or whether we need to investigate because actually a fraud occurred.
“We take what decision, whether it is sanction or arresting anybody,” she added.
She said that customers’ compliance was not 100 per cent, but there was an improvement, while condemning incessant attack on workers by some community while performing their official duties.
“There was a situation where a community attacked one of our employees, and of course the employee was actually discharging one of his duties, and we take that as non-compliance.
“We are still waiting for who did it and that is why we will not go into that community to give them whatever services that they need because again, an attack on one is an attack on all.
“Our employee need to be safe, that issue has occurred and the Kabiyesi reiterated to it.
“It is something that can not be tolerated, we can not tolerate that; it brings harm to us when discharging our duties.
“Another employee died three weeks ago, that was even a safety issue but it is a deferent aspect.
Oba Mohammed Atanda, the Olu of Iwa and Apapa Kingdom, (Amore III) condemned the attack of EKEDC workers by some community, saying such attitude negates ethical principles.
Atanda urged community to support EKEDC in protecting their equipment against vandals.
According to him, if electricity equipment are vandalised in any community, this will affect everyone in such community.
“We should ensure our total support to EKEDC in safeguarding their equipment against vandals.
“Residents should avoid tempering of meter and other EKEDC equipment within the community.
“Protecting EKEDC’s equipment is everybody’s responsibility and we must ensure that,” he said.
The royal father commended Eko Disco for organising the town hall as an avenue for discussion and way of resolving the challenges.
He said that the forum allows customers to clear their minds and the management of EKEDC also profers solutions.
A community leader, Prof. Chioma Itiaba, the Yeye Oge of Ijora and Iganmu Kingdom, urged resident to safeguard their transformers against vandals.
Itiaba said that vandalism are more rampant in Apapa community and there was need for community leaders to engage security personal to protect their transformers.
According to her, vandals usually operate between 2.00 a.m. to 4.00 a.m. in the community, but if security guards are on ground, such will not happened.