Factors that affect Power Distribution Companies In Nigeria: Reasons why We can’t have 24 hour power supply In Nigeria For Now.
In Nigeria, there are a few things that may discourage investors as far as infrastructural development is concerned. This is nothing other than the amount of losses an investor would incur since the system in the country is almost outdated.
I am looking at the factors that affect power distribution companies in nigeria and how this affects their ability to supply power around the nation.
This time I’m taking BEDC as a case study.
BEDC is an acronym for Benin Electric Distribution Company. Its a power distribution company in charge of Delta, Edo, Ondo and Ekiti states with a headquarter in Benin City, Nigeria.
In Nigeria, there are several Power Distribution companies In Nigeria. These Include:
1. Eko Electricity Distribution Plc
2. Enugu Electricity Distribution Company
3. Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company
4. Jos Electricity Distribution Company
5. Benin Electricity Distribution Plc
6. Kaduna Electricity Distribution PLC
7. Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company
8. Abuja Electricity Distribution Company
9. Ibadan Electric Distribution Company
10. Abuja Electricity Distribution Company
Now as a young Nigerian with many years of experience as far as this country is concerned, I’ve learnt a few factors that affect power distribution companies in Nigeria as far as their ability to buy and distribute this power is concerned and these i will share below.
Among these factors, I’m gonna take just a few.
1. Theft: Since BEDC assumed office after PHCN, the company has recorded a lot of losses and I’m here today to talk about theft as one of the sources of losses.
Theft is a multifaceted factor as it could be classified as both internal and external.
a. Internal Theft: this occurs within the company. I’ve been an enumeration officer with the company for quite a number of weeks now and being out there on the field, I’ve heard customers cry and confide in me.
These customers despite having no Account with The company are billed over N2000 on a monthly basis even when the load capacity in their homes isn’t enough to make them consume such.
Now if over 3000 customers are billed excessively and this revenue is recorded and accounted for, why would BEDC be recording a lot of losses?
This simply means the agents, those in the field as marketers are the ones collecting these funds and squandering same at the expense of the financiers or top management team who often has to cough from their personal money to make up for losses.
Wait till I explain external theft
Recommendation: If you are using NEPA light, ensure you have a meter and an account as well.
The meters are available if you know your way oo.
b. External Theft: This is induced by consumers. Sometimes I see a compound used for Bakery/factory coming with a tariff that is only meant for residential customers on a single phase connection.
Note: Factories are considered special customers. Their tariff is often higher than that of residential customers since they always have power supply.
This simply means that such a customer is paying something lower than he’s supposed to. He’s on a wrong tariff but will remain on that tariff than go get the appropriate one.
Aside from this, we also have customers in homes where there are no service lines having consuming power.
There is no service lines to your house, you have no solar panels installed in your premises, there is no inverter or whatsoever but you have your refrigerators all working.
They are working because you either tapped from a nearby neighbor or from only heaven knows where.
But that’s stealing.
Its a capital offence because you’re placing a burden on customers on Postpaid meters.
Aside from theft, there is another factor I want to talk about.
Recommendation: Always ensure you correct your tariff because the new NERC laws will ensure you are taken to the court of law and tried for stealing energy.
2. Attitude Of Customers: the attitude of the people towards NEPA facilities is often lukewarm.
They see an enumeration officer, they frown their faces and refuse to give out relevant information pertaining to their power dependent appliances.
His would a customer lie that he has no refrigerator when there are actually 2 refrigerators in his house?
You claim not to have electric cooker, but you use same every now and then.
You are a customer, but your meter is not as its supposed to be, you’ve tampered with it in order for it to run lower.
You bypassed the meter so that your 45 units will last for 50 days.
Don’t you know such is a punishable offence?
Do you not know that this energy you use is bought with someone’s money?
Do you not know that a business us run for profits and can only continue when there is profit?
How would you have such attitudes but still expect to have a 24hour power supply?
Change your mindset and attitude for the better Niko
Recommendation: always ensure you give the correct information to enumeration officers whenever they come around.
This will enable the company invest wisely, know the capacity of transformer to be send to your neighborhood.
3. Current Of Infrastructures: To be Frank, the current transmission lines in the country will not carry as much power as would be enough to power every home on a 24 hour basis. So the current state of power infrastructures such as transmission lines is another factor affecting power distribution companies in Nigeria as well as their ability to distribute this power to everyone.
We already know the current
Truth is that, the last time power generation climbed over 6000 megawatts, the transmission lines broke. The generation companies lost a lot since the power lines could not carry the load to the final distribution companies. Do you remember there was a general blackout in Nigeria around the Yuletide season?
Now you know what caused it.
In fact, the nature of power lines we have must be improved upon if this country is to have 24 hour power supply for everyone and this would be such a capital intensive project that would take years for the government to be able to afford.
Transmission lines alone account for a good amount of losses since the amount of power sent through these lines is always lower than what gets to the final consumers.
Recommendation: the government should improve on this aspect. Long span materials should be used in the design of transmission lines.
If you’re a contractor, don’t work for the money. Work for the benefit of the country, don’t accept a power standard that won’t last or allow for expansion.
Always design for future and not for now only.
4. Customer Attitude Towards Payment: This is what I’m not supposed to tell you but I will.
Do you know that out of every 5 billion naira spent to buy power from the generation companies, BEDC is only able to recover 3 Billion?
Do you know what this means?
It simply means the number of customers paying their electricity bills is lower than the number of customers not paying their bills at all.
Just imagine a situation where a customer was billed N5000 for the month, he then comes to a cash office to pay N2500.
He pays N2500 but still expect the company to supply him power for 24 hours despite the fact that he paid only half what he owes
You see how una be?
Recommendations: Always pay up your bill. Pay as you’re given because its what you use that they bill you for. If you can’t cope with postpaid metering, go for Prepaid meters. Prepaid meters are “Pay as you use” you only pay what you use.
5. Corruption: Corruption is Another factor affecting power distribution companies in Nigeria. Do you know the new re-connection fee is about N15,000?
Now if a customer was disconnected for not paying his bills and he knows he only needs to pay a technician about N2000 to have it reconnected, why would such a customer be willing to pay his bills ever again?
He’ll simply be paying N2000 every time his service line is disconnected ni.
This corruption also touches factor 1 above (theft)
Distribution companies should sensitize their technicians on the effects of short changing the company standards and place a very good sanction on anyone caught going against the company policies as far as reconnection of disconnected customers is concerned.
Also, Distribution companies should design a better way of monitoring customers as well as make policies that would ensure erring customers are punished for doing so.
If I’m to spend N40,000 whenever I’m arrested for connecting my service line without going through due process. Why would I ever want to do so? Why would I not even pay my bills as at when due?
6. Lack Of Better Monitoring Systems: Another factor affecting power distribution companies in Nigeria is lack of Monitoring Systems.
Do you know its easy to know an erring customer in the western world?
How would your account be dormant for 2months, yet, no marketer was assigned to check on your premises to know if you’re around or cheating?
How would a customer not pay his bills but still utilize the same amount of energy every month and no agent is sent to check out his premises?
Even from the office of the distribution company, an average power consumption of every customer should be known, notifiers should be designed to tell when an unusual activity goes on in a customer’s account.
Recommendation: Power Distribution companies should invest in monitoring systems. If possible, make it that whenever a customer account is inactive for a month, his power supply should be automatically shut off the system till he comes to rue office with a good reason for being off the grid.
7. Meter Bypassing: Meter bypass is very rampant in Nigeria. It is a very dubious move by customers to ensure their meter reads below expectation. This means a customer may tamper with his meter in order to be using more power while paying a little amount to the power company.
This is very bad because doing so, you limit the ability of the company to buy and distribute energy since they may find it difficult to cover all they spent buying the power as a result of your wicked acts.
Well, these are the few factors that affects power distribution companies In Nigeria and they’re the main reason why 24 hour power supply is not possible for now. At least not for all areas of the country.