The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has charged the top management of the electricity distribution companies to disguise themselves as ‘undercover bosses’ and interact with their customers to find out their grievances.
Speaking at the 11th Monthly Power Sector and Stakeholders Meeting held recently at the Ikeja West Transmission Station in Lagos, the minister insisted that undercover bosses would help the power companies to take good management decisions and improve their service delivery. He charged the companies to regard service delivery as top priority, stressing that the federal government is working with all the partners to resolve the liquidity challenges in the sector. “We have talked about undercover boss here. You should go around and ask your customers questions. It will inform your management decisions on areas to improve service delivery,” he said. Also in a communiqué at the end of the meeting, the minister stated that the Discos should do whatever is necessary to recognise that customer is king by ensuring that their staff also realise that without customers they will not have jobs. The meeting, which was co-hosted by the Egbin Power Plc and the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company also acknowledged the liquidity challenges in the sector and mandated all the power companies to submit their audited reports before the next meeting. The communiqué noted that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) had informed the power stakeholders that transmission projects at Ikeja West, Aja and Omotosho would be completed before the end of 2017 to boost transmission capacity to over 6,500Megawatts.
According to the communiqué, which was read by the Managing Director of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, Dr, Anthony Youdeowei, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has also pledged to repair all pipelines vandalised in 2016. The stakeholders also acknowledged that the families affected by a recent electrical accident in Lagos have been fully compensated by the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company. The Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company plc (NBET) also urged all the participants in the electricity value chain, particularly the generation and distribution companies to pay their bills promptly.
Earlier in his opening speech, Fashola urged the Discos to resolve issues around metering and billing. “I think the top burner issue remains service delivery. I and my team are working hard to make the operating environment better. But as pioneers, you will carry some burden, you will make more sacrifices. I am optimistic that it will get better,” Fashola said. Youdeowei, in his opening speech, thanked Fashola for standing by the power privatisation “in the face of dissenting voices.”
The Ikeja Electric boss acknowledged that the expectations of the Nigerian public have not been met because of the volatility of the operating environment. According to him, 2016 was a challenging year for the power sector and the challenges have remained.He pledged on behalf of the stakeholders to continue to work towards ensuring the success of the power sector.