The Managing Director, Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JED), in northcentral Nigeria, Engr. Abdu Mohammed, has lamented the huge debt owed by customers in its four franchised States of Gombe (northeast), Bauchi (northeast), Benue (northcentral) and Plateau (northcentral) Nigeria.
He said customers’ apathy towards bill payment is currently affecting the growth of the company and the efficiency in energy supply.
“As at the moment, customers are indebted to the company to the tune of over one hundred and twenty billion naira (N120B), company-wide. If you do not pay, how do we get money to invest in our networks?”, Mohammed said in Gombe at the weekend during the Customers Consultative Forum.
The forum organised to educate and sensitize customers on the augmented services available in consuming energy from the company’s network, also delved into the frustration of the company in providing efficient power supply when consumers evade bill payment”, a statement from the Head Corporate Communications, JED, Dr. Friday Adakole Elijah, said.
“When you pay your bill promptly, it will help the company to procure more energy and serve you better”, the Regional Manager, JED, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar who represented the Managing Director, said.
“Your behaviour for not paying for your consumed energy is colossally impinging on the company’s quest to solidify its networks to the desired level even though several billions of naira had been expended by JED”, Mohammed continued.
He said when there were natural disasters in the Gombe and Bauchi axis of the company’s operations affecting some installations, the company moved in expeditiously and fixed them.
“Regularly, our distribution transformers are being vandalised and we are fixing them. We are expected to pay to the market where we obtain this energy on credit. If you don’t pay, how do we pay for this energy that we give to you? I don’t think that any one of us can go to the filling station, take fuel and not pay for it”, he lamented.
The JED boss however lauded the Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Yahaya for supporting the company for prompt payment of energy consumed by the State government.
Also Speaking, the Chief Security Officer, Alhaji Musa Abdullahi called on communities and security agencies in the State to help safeguard electricity installations in their area.
He said even though the company had exhibited a tremendous commitment to the protection of its facilities, the menace of vandals and energy thefts has become torn in the company’s flesh.
Abdullahi called for concerted and collaborative efforts by members of the public and the various security agencies operating in the State saying, “When there is a case of vandalism in any community, the socioeconomic life of such community will be in quandary while the safety of the people in the affected areas will be in jeopardy”.
In his presentation, the Head, Customers Complainants and Relationship Management, Lucky Akpobi admonished customers not to shy away from coming forth with their complaints when the need arises saying that as a service provider they were ready to serve the company day and night.
In his words, ” You can channel your complaints to any of our offices or our social media handle and you will be attended to “.
Also, in his exhibition, the Coordinator, Meters Asset Providers (MAP), Engr. Nasir Abubakar called on customers to take advantage of the scheme saying the only sure way to measure consumed energy by the customers “is to be metered”.
He assured customers that once they were able to provide evidence of payments for the MAP meters, they would be metered within 10 working days.
He told customers not to shy away from the metering scheme because of their outstanding debt disclosing that the company had developed a flexible payment method.
According to him, “When you acquire a meter, your debt will be migrated to the meter and you will be asked to go into an agreement with the company on how much you can afford to pay per month. You can spread the payments to 12 months or more as the case may be. Nobody is going to force you to pay all in one swoop”, he said