Abuja Disco to inject $200 million into network expansion
* Plans 10-year tariff to customers, 100,000 meters
Abuja Electricity Distribution Company ( Abuja Disco) is to inject $200 million into its network expansion scheme over the next five years, as part of its approved capital expenditure programme.
Since taking over in November, 2013, the firm had injected N2 billion into its operations with a view to improving its network assets and infrastructure.
Also, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, which covers electricity distribution in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kogi, Nasarawa and Niger states has unveiled its 10-year tariff review plan to its customers at an extra-ordinary consultative forum held in Abuja.
The Managing Director/CEO of the AEDC, Neil Croucher, who led officials of the company to a customers’ forum in Abuja, also announced that the proposed tariff review was, to among others, provide a cost reflective tariff to facilitate the attraction of private capital into the sector since the current tariff does not cover the cost of producing and distributing electricity.
Croucher, while calling for understanding of the customers said: “We are appealing for a marginal increment in the tariff. And if you support us in this regard, it will help us to serve you better since private capital will be attracted to this new tariff regime”.
The CEO stated that the sector needed massive injection of capital due to years of under investment when it was government owned.
According to hom, “AEDC needs to inject $200 million over the next five years as part of its approved capital expenditure programme.
The tariff being put forward is a regulated tariff; there is no opportunity for us to make exorbitant profits out of it. Tariffs will actually come down over the course of the 10 years as the level of generation increases and losses come down”, he explained. He restated that in the medium to long term, customers will be better off with lower tariff.
He added: “We will install 500,000 meters, 100,000 per annum for a period of five years after we must have completed the pilot scheme of free meter installation totalling 35,000 for which Minna in Niger state and Life Camp in FCT have been selected as test areas. These projects are currently being rolled out.
“Electronic vending system is also in the offing where customers can pay their bills via the internet by logging on to our website, POS terminals, among others.”
Some of the customers at the meeting, while decrying the difficult economic conditions in the country, however, said they would support the marginal increase if it will bring about improvement in power supply to their areas.
Some other customers, however, expressed reservations about the increase in tariff, saying that power supply should improve before they are asked to pay more.
But he noted that customers should look at this review as a sacrifice in order to make the sector attractive and serve them better, stressing that even at the proposed tariff they (customers) will still be paying less than the cost of running their diesel or petrol generators. He reiterated that AEDC’s 10-year tariff plan ensures that the tariff actually goes down in real terms over the years, making the customers better off at the end of the day.
It will be recalled that the AEDC, mid-July, held a three-day consultative forum with electricity consumers across its franchise area, where it sensitized the public on its planned tariff review.
The three-day public consultation was held simultaneously on July 13th, 14th and 15th in eight different locations, including Lokoja and Okene in Kogi state, Lafia and Keffi in Nasarawa state, Bida and Minna in Niger state, as we all as Gwagwalada and Wuse II in the FCT.
After the public consultations, the company submitted its 10-year tariff to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), but the Commission asked the AEDC to hold an extra-ordinary public consultation on the proposed tariff ahead of its expected approval at the end of this month.