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Disco laments, electricity theft, rising debt

 Oluwasina Phillip

Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc has said it is owed over N8.5bn by ministries, departments and agencies of government.

IBEDC, which covers Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Kwara states as well as part of Kogi, Ekiti and Niger states, put the debts owed to it by federal, state and local governments’ MDAs at N7.22bn, N1.15bn and N185.12m respectively

The Chief Operating Officer, IBEDC, Mr John Ayodele, who spoke at a press briefing on Tuesday, said the company planned to spend N91bn in the next five years to improve network, meter customers and automate operations.

He said the Disco would deploy 104,000 meters in the first year and scale up yearly to ensure 98 per cent customer metering by 2024 to reduce losses.

Ayodele said the company would install 530 distribution transformers and 112 feeders in two years in addition to upgrading most of its network assets.

According to him, IBEDC will complement grid energy supply by partnering with alternative power suppliers through franchising model.

On the challenges facing the Disco, He said, “Tariff is still not cost-reflective. Increasing energy cost is driven by the impact of worsening exchange rate on gas price, capital expenditure, inflation, constraints on the grid, and frequent collapse of the grid.

“Energy theft/vandalism is a big problem. We recorded over 15,032 cases of energy theft between January and July 2021. Seven out of every 10 new meters installed are bypassed in the first week of installation.”

He lamented that the country lost over N200m last year as a result of about 122 cases of vandalism.

Ayodele said, “Non-maximum demand customers – that makes up 95 per cent of IBEDC customer base – do not pay their bills fully, even those that are metered. MDAs are owing over N8.5bn as at 2020.

“Thus, Discos are making huge losses monthly; Discos’ losses make it difficult for investors, both local and foreign, to invest in the industry.”

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