By Etuka Sunday
Aura Energy Limited, owners of Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) said about 400, 000 customers were discovered from its customer audit as against the 274, 000 initially indicated during the privatisation process. A statement by the Head, Public Communications, Chigbo Anichebe quoted the Executive Director (Operations Support) of the company, Mr. Umar Bello, to have made the disclosure when a team from the Bureau of Public Enterprises visited the company in continuation of its post privatisation monitoring activities of the newly privatised PHCN successor companies. Bello noted that the audit was carried out on its behalf by AF-Mercados EMI, a specialist consultancy firm that supports clients in liberalizing energy sectors and promoting efficient sustainable energy markets, adding that it was necessary to reduce the inefficiencies within the system.
He said from the consumer enumeration carried out during the exercise, it was discovered that Jos distribution company had about 400, 000 customers as against the 274, 000 initially indicated during the privatisation process.
He disclosed that as a result of the findings from the audit, the company has realised that there is need to invest more in IT infrastructure—meters and billing platforms—and has invested N210 million to address the challenges in order to curb inefficiencies in billing. He added that transformer energy analyzers would be procured in order to determine and curb energy losses, while also improving efficiency in distribution of electricity.
The Executive Director added that the new investors would install about 70, 000 meters by the end of the year. He disclosed that several call and service centers had been established as steps to improve
service delivery. In disclosing some of the company’s future plans, Bello revealed that the company has initiated plans to explore embedded generation in each of the States within the Distribution Company (DISCO) coverage. Jos Disco covers four States. The States are Plateau, Gombe, Bauchi and Benue. He said that the energy supply that JEDC currently sells is between 5MW to 20MW, which is far below the ideal supply needed of 300 MW. He disclosed that JEDC intends to explore hydro-based electricity plants in Gombe State and gas-driven electricity plants in Yankari, Bauchi state in order to improve electricity supply within its DISCO areas.
In his response, the Deputy Director, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr. Chukwuma Nwokoh, who represented the DG, Mr. Benjamin Ezra Dikki, who led the Bureau’s monitoring team, implored the new owners of JEDC to ensure full implementation of the post-acquisition plan it submitted to the Bureau. He also advised that following the findings from the audit exercise, a revised post acquisition plan be forwarded to the Bureau.
It would be recalled that Federal Government, through the Bureau of Public Enterprises, on November 1, 2013 handed over Jos Electricity Distribution Company to Aura Energy after the latter’s payment of 100 percent of its bid amount of $81,041,273.89. The handover of share certificates/license was done by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on September 30, 2013 in furtherance of the administration’s Transformation Agenda.