The management of Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, Plc says it has began a major network ‘clean up exercise’ which entails mass disconnection of illegal consumers and those with other infractions that could hinder its smooth operation.
The management disclosed that the exercise was part of efforts at improving service delivery in line with the Service Reflective Tariff (SRT) regime in the electricity supply industry.
A statement signed by the Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director, BEDC, Funke Osibodu, which was made available to INFO DAILY, said the electricity distribution company did not just go into disconnection of such customers but first embarked on “massive customer reach-out programme through direct communication with customers by field representatives, POS-Agents, Call Centre representatives aiming to provide to the customer’s individual debt rescheduling solutions based on the Debt Rescheduling Scheme.”
The statement disclosed that the network cleanup, which started recently with a mass disconnection in Government Reservation Area (GRA) and Boundary Road in Benin City, Edo State, saw the company’s team comprising; business unit and service centre officers in these locations combing the network for illegalities.
The statement added that the exercise afforded BEDC staff opportunity to also interact with customers to identify the problems being experienced as a feedback for service improvement, with a view to resolving such complaints/issues to enable legitimate customers continue to enjoy improved service.
The statement disclosed that the exercise also afforded BEDC staff opportunity to go to customer houses, business premises to check installed meters especially Prepaid (PPM) ones, for possible bypass and/or huge debts, saying that such debts was hindering the company from optimising its service delivery.
While noting that during the clean up process customers were directed to channel their complaints to the company’s customer care unit with a view to resolving such complaints/issues quickly, its added that indebted customers were also encouraged to partake in the newly introduced Debt Rescheduling Scheme.
“Debt Rescheduling Scheme has been developed as palliative for customers who owe electricity bills and are unable to instantaneously pay such debts given various challenges which has reduced their ability to pay.
“The scheme provides the opportunity or possibility to restructure the terms and conditions for them to be able to settle their outstanding consumption bills on longer payment period of up to 60 months.
“We used the exercise to send a clear message to non-responsive customers that BEDC will not allow infractions to continue within in the network.
“The interaction was friendly and business-oriented. We assisted some of them resolve their issues, while several disconnections took place of others who were hugely indebted or illegally connected.
“The whole essence was to enable customers know that BEDC services in terms of energy distribution is sustainable if they pay their bills promptly,” the statement reads.
The statement further added that customers willing to settle debts signed debt rescheduling agreements during the exercise, while those with meter infractions and other illegalities were issued disconnection notices.
It reads further: “We encourage our esteemed customers to visit company’s service centres, or reach out through official communication channels, including our website, as well as partner POS Agent Channels to get a detailed insight of debt rescheduling scheme and take advantages of offered debt recovery solutions.
“In all, we appreciate what the exercise was able to achieve and we are glad that the Edo experience brought us closer to customers and also showed that we are working hard to improve customer experience by checking those infractions that could hinder our performance in the quest for improved power supply.”
The statement disclosed that the cleans up exercise will also be extended to other BEDC franchise areas in Ondo, Ekiti and Delta states, “as a measure towards enhancing the company’s performance whilst responding better to customers complaints in spite of the present period of economic difficulty.”
#EndSARS anniversary: Police Occupy Lekki Toll Gate, Others, Activists Set For Protest [PHOTOS]
There are strong indications that security agents and protesters will clash in many cities across the country today (Wednesday) as activists and youths insist on gathering in public spaces to commemorate the first year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests, which rocked the nation last year.
For instance, heavily armed police personnel, on Tuesday, took over the Lekki tollgate area, which was the hotbed of last year’s protests.
The PUNCH also learnt that some policemen in plain clothes would join the protesters in a bid to monitor them closely.
DPR, PPPRA, PEF Scrapped As FG Sacks CEOs, Inaugurates New Agencies
The Department of Petroleum Resources, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund are all officially scrapped and do not exist anymore, the Federal Government said on Monday.
It also said while workers of the three agencies would be protected, their chief executives had been relieved of their various appointments.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, stated this while speaking on the side-lines of the inauguration of the boards of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority and the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission in Abuja.
He explained that with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act, the NPRA and NURC had taken over the functions of the DPR, PPPRA and PEF.
Responding to a question on what would happen to DPR following the inauguration of the board of NURC, Sylva said, “It is now a matter of law.
“The law states that all the assets and even the staff of the DPR are to be invested on the commission and also in the authority. So that means the DPR doesn’t exist anymore.
“And, of course, the law specifically repeals the DPR Act, the Petroleum Inspectorate Act, the Petroleum Equalisation Fund Act and the PPPRA Act. The law specifically repeals them. It is very clear that those agencies do not exist anymore.”
On what would happen to the chief executives and employees of DPR, PEF and PPPRA, the minister replied, “The law also provides for the staff and the jobs in those agencies to be protected.
“But I’m sure that that doesn’t cover, unfortunately, the chief executives, who were on political appointments.”
He stated that the process for aligning the workers of the defunct agencies with the new regulatory bodies had already commenced, as the staff had to be rationalised.
Sylva said, “The authority has its staff coming from the defunct PEF, PPPRA and DPR. The commission has staff coming over from DPR and the process is going on for the next few weeks.”
Sylva stated that the inauguration of the boards on Monday marked the beginning of the successor agencies.
He said, “The PIA provides for the upstream regulatory commission and the establishment of the midstream and downstream authority.
“So far, the chief executives of these agencies have not been in place, but of course, Mr President in his wisdom made the appointment a few weeks ago and they went through a rigorous process of confirmation at the National Assembly.
“The agencies have now taken off because they now have clear leadership and today’s event marks that beginning for the new agencies.”
He further stated that with the passage of the PIA into law, after spending over 20 years in the process, the coast was now clear for investors to fully invest in Nigeria’s oil sector.
“Today, the PIA has clarified the legal framework around the sector and the agencies are now in place. So I don’t see anything now stopping investors from coming,” the minister stated.
He said competent hands were now handling the business, adding, “Nigerians should brace up for exponential growth in the oil and gas sector.”
The Chief Executive, NURC, Gbenga Komolafe, said the commission would deliver on its mandate as captured in the new petroleum Act.
“Nigerians should expect massive deliverables in the sense that the PIA has ended the regime of uncertainty in terms of the governance of the industry,” he said.
He also said the commission would ensure that the country hits its OPEC quota in crude oil production, as the NURC would be an enabler of investments.
EndSARS: Police Warn Against Protest In Oyo
Oyo State Police command, on Tuesday, said that it will not allow anyone to organize any protest in the state.
The police made this disclosure while reacting to a protest, which has been scheduled to hold in commemoration of the anniversary of End SARS protest in the state.
DAILY POST correspondent recalls that the End SARS protest, which was organised by youths in October last year, was held in order to protest against police brutality.
It was gathered that no fewer than five police officers died during the protest in the state last year.
Several properties were also destroyed during the protests.
The state police command has, however, advised youths not to organise any commemorative protest in Oyo State.
Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko, who spoke on Tuesday, noted that the police in the state has uncovered a plan to organise the maiden anniversary of the protests.
Onadeko in a statement signed by Public Relations Officer of the command, Adewale Onadeko, urged parents and guardians to warn their wards against being used by merchants of anarchy.
He said that the police would use all legal means to prevent such protests.
He maintained that violators would be sanctioned and prosecuted.
“Consequent upon this, the Commissioner of Police, Oyo State Police Command, Ngozi Onadeko fdc, is appealing to individual(s), groups and most importantly architects of these sinister plans, to have a rethink as the Command would not hesitate to use any legitimate means necessary within the ambit of the law to enforce sanity and prevent needless loss of lives and wanton destruction of private and public properties including critical government infrastructures which could emanate from the proposed protests.
“In furtherance to the above, the Commissioner of Police has directed extensive visibility and aggressive patrols by Area commanders and Divisional Police Officers while adequate deployment of operational, intelligence and tactical assets would be strategically positioned across every nook and cranny of the State to compliment and neutralize any threat or act(s) capable of truncating the relative calm enjoyed by the citizenry.
“Furthermore, Parents, guardians and leaders that wield various degrees of influence in religious, educational and traditional capacities are passionately advised to warn their wards and proteges against being used by merchants of anarchy as violators would be thoroughly sanctioned and prosecuted.”