The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, ANED, has lent its voice to the ongoing row between the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki and the management of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).
Speaking in response to media queries, ANED’s Executive Director for Research and Advocacy, Chief Sunday Oduntan, in a statement, said the umbrella body was displeased by the recent treatment of BEDC’s Managing Director by the Governor during a visit by the House of Representatives Committee on Power to Edo state.
Governor Obaseki walked the MD out of his office during the meeting for, according to him, “…failing to meet obligations to electricity consumers in the state.
“What is most unfortunate about the whole episode is that there is a misunderstanding about how the power sector works and this has led to the Governor’s unfair expectations from BEDC. I cannot also rule out with the upcoming elections and everyone looking for scapegoats, that local politics may be involved in this case and that is highly unfortunate,” Chief Oduntan said.
“He mentioned that the state generates over 600 MW and as such should not be encountering power supply challenges. However, he needs to understand that the power generated at Azura or any other power plant in the country for that matter is first sent to the national grid from where it is redistributed to different DIsCos for distribution to customers.
“Benin DisCo is only entitled to 9% of the power sent out from the national grid so it is clear that the DisCo does not have the power to retain the 600MW generated by Azura.
“More interestingly is the fact that out of this 9%, over 40% of it is distributed within Edo state as the host community of the DisCo. The other three states in the franchise area – Delta, Ekiti and Ondo – share the remaining 60%. You can clearly see therefore that Edo state enjoys the lion share of what the DisCo gets already. To allocate more to Edo – which is what the Governor is advocating – will be grossly unfair to the other states,” Chief Oduntan added.
Chief Oduntan also stressed that it is unfair to attack a DisCo that is on record as having the highest number of pre-paid meters in the country all in a bid to ensure customers get value for their money as well as to end the practise of estimated billing within its franchise area.
An earlier released statement by BEDC reported that the company had completed plans to roll out more pre-paid meters with effect from the first quarter of 2019 under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) programme of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to further accelerate the metering of consumers.