Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) has expressed apprehension over N25.3 billion electricity bills it inherited from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria last November.
The amount which also includes contestable estimated bills was part of the company asset and liabilities across Ondo, Ekiti, Delta and Edo States that make up Benin zone.
It said there were 8000 backlog of metres paid for by customers before May 2013 under the previous regime; high volume of estimated billing, liabilities from PHCN, and power theft, saying only 48% of consumers pay for the power they consume.
Managing Director and Chief Executive officer of BEDC, Mrs Funke Osibodu made this known at a media parley at the weekend in Benin.
“…the money include contestable Bills…However, the account is yet to be audited. We are now more aggressive in our drive for revenue generation to provide power for customers who pay electricity
bills…metres are available, but there are not available for those 8000 customers.
Osibodu charged NEMPCO, Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to take responsibility for the 8000 metres unremitted customers metres, adding that about N45 billion is required by the company to sustained steady power supply for the next five years.
She said the company’s first four months of operation was a period of shadow operation, in which they tried to understand the terrain, as well as intimate themselves with the challenges facing the power
distribution sector, and how to tackle them.
She also revealed that of the 2,500-4,000 megawatts of power available to Nigeria, 650 megawatts was available to BEDC which covers Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states, but grossly inadequate for consumers:
“the Benin Electricity Distribution Company of Nigeria uses 650 megawatts of power, it of the 2,500 to 4,000 available; and they is grossly inadequate for the 150 million people in Nigeria.
She said there are 77 local governments under the BEDC, with 3.7 million households, 13.2 million population and available statistics indicates that only 700,000 consumers use power.
Presenting a paper on the journey of the new company so far, the management assured its customers that a plans to set up customers call centres to deal with complaints of outrageous billing and a workable methodology that would allow customers to use Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and POS to recharge, especially during weekend.
It listed some of its challenges to include, illegal connections, power theft, inadequate metering, inadequate power supply, low level of information available, poor health and safety practice, poor maintenance practice.