By Najeeb Ibrahim Kafur
Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) is one of the eleven electricity distribution companies (DisCos) licensed in 2013 by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) by virtue of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005. The power Act was necessitated by some challenges in the Nigerian power sector, principally concerning power outages and unreliable service. The Act called for unbundling the national power utility company into a series of 18 successor companies: six generation companies, 12 distribution companies covering all 36 Nigerian states, and a national power transmission company.
Today, more than six years into its operations, how far has KEDCO gone in realising its mandate of effective, efficient and customer-friendly distribution of electricity in its franchise areas of the North-western states of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa?
Without any iota of doubt, KEDCO is a huge success in terms of development, innovation, expansion and constant improvement of its services albeit amidst daunting challenges. Public opinion is unanimous to the fact that KEDCO has made tremendous impact at ensuring that service delivery is highly innovative in manners that x-ray maximum satisfaction for all stakeholders in the power sector within the company’s KEDCO franchise areas.
Nigeria’s quest for diversification of the economy from its present mono-economy dependency on crude oil in order to accelerate its social, economic and political development can only be achieved through uninterrupted electricity supply and distribution. An efficient power sector is therefore the panacea for boosting the economy and promoting foreign direct investments (FDIs) as well to propel industrialisation of the country. This in turn will create employment for the teeming youths and KEDCO is leading in that aspect.
Flowing from the realisation of its critical role in boosting Nigeria’s economy and satisfying the huge customer base of over 19,563,874, the largest in the country, KEDCO has invested massively in material and human resources as well as contributed immensely to the efforts of government at all levels in addressing the challenge of youth unemployment. Unarguably, the greatest investment in life is measured by the impact such investment has on humans and its environment.
KEDCO has on routine basis given series of training to its staff with a view to making them geniuses in their respective professions as KEDCO staff. That has in more ways than one contributed to the massive image rebranding strategies of the company. As the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of KEDCO, Dr Jamilu Isyaku Gwamna, Sardaunan Gombe, once said: “Any investment in training personnel is an investment for organisation growth because as the training enhances the capacity and competence levels of the staff, they will have no problems with the ‘what, how, why and when’ of doing their jobs and that promotes efficiency and effectiveness.”
Aside this revolution in staff capacity building to arm them for the future, KEDCO also recruited over 2,500 staff with diverse skills and experience to deliver KEDCO’s service promise. The recruitment has an economic chain reaction that is estimated to assist over 10, 000 individuals.
Also, another milestone achievement that has set KEDCO on a path that challenges the future is the massive infrastructural and overwhelming expansionary revolution in network. KEDCO has invested over N5.1 billion in network, metering and improving work environment. All this is to ensure that the company’s numerous customers get satisfaction in a manner that befits their demand. Power is vital in any economy that hopes to grow its manufacturing sector as well as other sectors for the wellbeing of the people. Mindful of this, KEDCO embarked on unrepentant acquisition and repair of equipment.
Currently, several hundreds of transformers and operational vehicles have been bought to show how seriously KEDCO feels about the need for up-grade to meet up with future demands; as it is now KEDCO is already living in the future. This is why the percentage of grid energy received from less than four per cent of total national generation was jerked up to the current average of seven per cent with over 200,000KVA new distribution capacity added by installing new distribution transformers. Also over 300 kilometres of new distribution lines were added to KEDCO network while mapping of 33KV lines, 11KV lines and distribution transformers in collaboration with World Bank using GIS to aid planning has also been done. The procurement of working tools, operational vehicles and entire office refurbishment geared towards improved service delivery are deliberate acts that KEDCO is not willing to negotiate. The most important philosophy that drives the jet of KEDCO is the fact that customers over the years have remained its target for satisfaction and maximum service delivery, which have been proven on several occasions.
Matching actions with words, the company went on restructuring spree from regional levels to miniature levels where the customers can be easily reached which has resulted to the over 180 Customer Service Points that now exist for enhanced coverage, energy accountability, reliability and customer intimacy. There was also an upgrading of the ICT Data Centre providing 24hrs online real-time vending services as well as opening of 174 cash offices and integrating them with the billing system. The quest to minimise customers’ complaints saw KEDCO launching the Operations Process Monitoring Business Intelligence for effective resolution of Customer Complaints, Fault Clearance and monitoring of staff performance in relation to their service to customers.
The audacious reforms of the power sector by KEDCO for the purpose of resuscitating the manufacturing sector and enhancing their capacities to not only grow the economies of its franchise areas but providing employments for youths and shooting down the negative statistics of unemployment have been getting more attention as KEDCO within the years under review built dedicated industrial feeders to encourage re-industrialisation of KEDCO franchise areas. This is to complement government’s effort and bring down the cost of production, which many companies have identified as a major challenge.
As a matter of fact, KEDCO’s achievements in the last six years cannot be captured in a single article. In a nutshell, KEDCO is set to wax stronger and attain greater heights in Nigeria’s power distribution sub-sector. Indeed, KEDCO has great potential for growth, opportunities and success in view of its large customer population and for reconfiguration of the power distribution to a radial network, to improve efficient energy delivery. Closing the ‘metering gap’ through KEDCO Meter Asset Providers metering, investments in additional lines to de-load feeders as well as new transformers at load points are key for KEDCO in its quest to push for more progress.
Kafur writes from Katsina