Pic Caption: Ernest Edgar, Chief Head, BEDC, Delta State (middle), Ashok Acharya, Chief Technical Officer, BEDC, (right) and Abu Ismail Ejoor, Head, Customer Service, BEDC, during the customer forum held in Warri.

By Francis Sadhere

THE Benin Electricity Distribution Plc on Tuesday revealed plans to   embark on massive metering of its customers in Edo, Ondo, Delta and Ekiti States, assuring of its determination to provide quality service delivery.

The Head, BEDC, Delta State, Mr Ernest Edgar  gave this assurance in Warri during BEDC   Customers Public Forum held at the Mom Civic Centre, Warri.

He said that  in spite of the challenges faced by the BEDC, it is going to make sure that  customers got  the needed service delivery, urging  customers to pay their bills and avoid all forms of illegal deals with some corrupt BEDC staff.

He lamented the high rate of theft of BEDC equipments by vandals who have made it very difficult for them to perform maximally.

“I also want to emphasize on this issue of vandalization and violence. The level of violence and vandalization in Delta State is on the increase. This year alone, I know that three people have been jailed and I must commend the judiciary for that,” he said.

The Delta State BEDC boss  who spoke at the interactive session, noted that people must do their part as customers and try to pay all outstanding debts they are owing BEDC, saying  that was the only  way BEDC will work effectively.

Mr Edgar who responded to many questions from the audience, explained that the reason why there was shortage of power in the country was because of many factors which include gas pipeline vandalism that has made gas to scarce.

He also explained that the Nigerian Electric Commission (NEC) has directed all distribution companies in the country to stop collecting money from customers who want to buy meter, adding that henceforth, meters will be given to customers free of charge.

He said the distribution of the meters have already started and that BEDC will distribute meters to all its customers within three to four years as they cannot provide meters to all their customers within one year.

He said BEDC will make sure that the meters gets to all its customers but called for patient on their part, stressing that BEDC  do not have the funds to provide meters for everybody at the same time.

According to him, the metering will be done in badges and that by the end of five years, every house would have been  metered.

He also added the Minister of Power has set machineries in motion to ensure that Government Ministries and agencies who are owing BEDC pay up their debts to ensure a smooth running of the BEDC.

He said, “BEDC receives 9% of what is available at the national grid. BEDC covers four states namely, Edo Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states. Once the national grid has challenges, the available power to BEDC reduces. Standard practice all over the world is that for every one million population, they should consume Ten Thousand mega watts. Now that the country is boasting of about 160 million people, then we should be talking about a Hundred and something mega watts”.

“The Hon. Minister also said that there is a major liquidity problem which they are working on. He said they are in various degree of discussion with the world bank on how to resolve this liquidity problem. So we need to address the issue where the challenge really is .

He added that;”The Hon. Minister has set up a working committee with all the distribution companies on how to settle the bills of government Ministries and Agencies. The committee is working assiduously to ensure that the debts are reconciled and the government has given us commitment to pay”.