Benin Electricity Distribution Plc. BEDC is aiming to achieve 100 percent metering of all Industrial and Maximum demand customers by the end of November 2016.
Under the plan, the company will install another 100,000 meters for domestic and commercial customers for the remainder of the year and ensure extension of the existing Automated Meter Reading (AMR) capability to 3,000 maximum demand meters.
It will also meter at least 1,000 distribution transformers in order to adequately account for energy billing to customers.
To achieve the targets set, the company has in addition to the existing stock of 32,000 meters; placed order for another 45,000 units for distribution, while it has also recently re-engineered its metering process with a view to eliminating all administrative bottlenecks to reduce processing and installation time.
Based on its metering performance, the company emerged tops in metering progress performance rating report amongst Distribution Companies (Discos) carried out by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in its second quarter 2016 state of affairs of the electricity supply industry.
BEDC scored 65.30 per cent to emerge overall lead performer in metering progress aspect of the report which indicates the percentage of customers metered.
BEDC had demonstrated its consciousness of the metering gaps existing across its various customer classes and had commenced the process to cover the metering gap for existing customers in its area of operations.
The company has been proactive in installation of meters having installed over 120,500 meters since takeover. It has taken advantage of both the Industry CAPMI Scheme and own funded meters. More than 90,000 out of these have been installed in 2016 alone.
The company has also implemented some projects to ascertain the health of the customer meters; 100% recertification and rectification of existing Maximum Demand customers, massive meter sealing exercise for domestic and commercial customers.
Prepaid Meters recertification and rectification exercise and shifting meters from customer premise to external visible locations/poles is on the way.
The company says it has recently commenced installation of over 10,000 small high performing transformers called High Voltage Distribution System (HVDS) to reduce technical loss and provide better quality of power to customers to enhance reliability.
In addition, BEDC disclosed that it has developed action plan towards reducing technical loss through capacity addition by implementing network improvement projects as described in its Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) plans. This includes the installation of power and distribution transformers, line refurbishment by replacing undersized/damaged conductors and HVDS deployment.
The company is facing challenges in reducing technical losses which ranged from; very long 33KV feeders with average length of 100kilometeres each causing high technical loses and poor reliability.
“Revamping of existing 33kv feeders transverse through difficult terrain: thick and mangrove vegetation, flooded and swampy forests with their peculiar vegetation management problems were also challenges”, BEDC said in a statement.
Part of key initiatives taken by the company to improve operational and financial performance include; metering of over 95per cent 11KV feeders and over 120,000 customers including 4,000 covered as backlog at takeover and the introduction of High Voltage Distribution System (HVDS) and pole metering.
Also, BEDC in its bid towards reducing technical loss will further vigorously implement load management process to drastically reduce the loss by also balancing the loading of voltage networks to minimize electricity flow in the neutral conductors.
Between 2014 and 2015, BEDC has constructed 10 dedicated feeders for key customers to provide more power and enhance revenue collection.
After takeover some of the major challenges faced by BEDC were; aged and dilapidated high tension network, high transmission and distribution losses, lack of energy and network management tools, low rate of metering; almost non-existent customer services; inadequate generation capacity and data integrity due to absence of enumeration.
BEDC the 4th largest Disco in terms of distribution capacity recently bagged two awards; African Quality Achievement Award as the Most Innovative Power Distribution Company in Africa in 2016 and the 9ja Safe Merit award respectively, in recognition of its excellent commitment to quality improvement in electricity supply across its network and for actively promoting health, safety and environment as cornerstone of business performance. The two awards which were bestowed in Lagos recently reflected series of efforts put in place to boost access to electricity and improved services to customers in its franchise, in addition to pushing safety both at the workplace and on the network including occupational health, safety and environment initiatives.