Ikeja Electric To Retain Estimated Electricity Billing

Yemisi Izuora

Electricity consumers not yet metered within the network controlled by Ikeja Electric (Formerly Ikeja Disco) would have to wait longer than expected as the company has clearly stated that it cannot continue with its metering project under present circumstances.

The company complained that current exchange rate has made it impossible to continue to implement such initiative.

At a roundtable conference with the media today, the acting chief executive officer, CEO of the Distribution Company, Anthony Youdeowei declared that “Metering is a huge problem. Estimated billing is here to stay for a while but we want it to be reasonable”.

Though, he apologised for the shortcoming of the company in turning things around, he explained that before the takeover of the assets of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, the new owners perhaps did not envisage the enormity of the decay of the facilities.

“Before privatisation, many projections were made, like metering and all of that were done with good and sincere intentions,  but again there is the social component to it. There were things we did not do well, and we didn’t know about some of the labour issues”.

“Today we are service delivery company unlike NEPA that was an engineering company, as at 2013 the exchange rate was about N216, 20 months later things have changed and today we are faced with recession”.

Youdeowei, noted that it would be a disservice to continue to defend what is not realisable.

On metering, he said the company has set out to meter all trading points from the Feeder to Distribution Transformers and down to consumers.

The idea, he stressed is to determine the power supplied to a particular area and then bill  customers along such consideration.

“We have problem of FOREX but we are still ordering meter but the pace is slow, single phase meter landing cost is about N100,000 and maximum return is 10 percent and this takes about 7 years to recover cost of a meter”.

Speaking in the same way, the company’s general manager commercial, Folake Soetan explained that estimated billing is not illegal, stressing that the firm has come up with an acceptable billing formula for non metered customers.

According to Soetan, From energy supplied to the distribution transformer, the company calculates the recharging limit of metered customers within the period and bill unmetered customers about 30 percent of such consumption.

She said, the formula had been submitted to the regulator, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, which is excited with the parameter.

She also said 85 percent of the facilities have been metered within the network.

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