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Sell-off prompts better service drive

Article - December 10, 2012
Privatisation will require a much more customer-friendly approach from Nigeria's electricity distribution companies

Oladele Amoda, Chief Executive Officer of the Eko Electricity Distribution Company, says the era of the public service mentality is over and a new era of providing customers with better service has arrived.

Eko has announced plans to win an average of 5,000 new customers every month. Improving the company’s infrastructure is crucial to this, and the company has been overhauling its operations in a bid to improve efficiency and shore up its revenue base.”The improved service delivery will, in turn, translate into improved revenue generation,” says Mr Amoda.

Eko’s area of operation in the economic heart of Nigeria, serving the Lagos business community, prompted the second highest number of bids among the 11 distribution companies offered for sale in the ongoing privatisation process – only Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, which also operates in Lagos, received more.

“Our service territory covers areas with a large concentration of high net-worth corporate and individual customers with huge revenue potentials,” says the CEO.

The company’s federal government-funded drive to upgrade electricity metering, supply and service delivery involves construction of new 33kv and 11kv lines, and rehabilitation of distribution substations. Some 350 distribution transformers are being deployed, with a further 120 set-aside as relief transformers for customers in overloaded areas. Distribution of 85,000 prepaid meters will remove obsolete meters associated with inappropriate billing of customers.

   Mr Amoda says the funding of the upgrade projects is “a practical demonstration of government’s commitment at improving the power sector for the benefit of its citizens.”

   He acknowledges that the power industry faces many challenges, ranging from aged infrastructure to inadequate supply of gas to run the existing power plants, and other maintenance challenges.

Nevertheless, he remains optimistic about the future. “With the current administration’s resolve to revamp the sector in line with the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, there is a lot of hope that the electricity market in Nigeria will soon blossom,” he says. 

Mr Amoda believes the privatisation process will open opportunities and pave the way for sustained and consistent investment to expand the existing infrastructure. The ongoing NIPP (National Integrated Power Projects) coupled with rural electrification projects will complement these efforts, he says.

With all the several Independent Power Producer (IPP), NIPP and rehabilitation projects going on at different locations coupled with short and medium-term emergency power projects coming up, Mr Amoda is confident the target of 40,000MW will be achieved. He says, “The sector is already opened up for investors both in power and the gas sectors and more will be investing in coal, solar and even nuclear power projects.”