* Reconnects critical feeders as PHED launches cashless on the spot payment system
By Codratus Godson
Key power feeders were early in the month cut off by higher powers as punishment to the local Disco for breaches, as they termed it. This caused a squabble and back n forth between the two. Now, relief seems to come as they have been reconnected. in Relief may have returned to the Rivers State capital in power supply aspects as two critical feeders belonging to Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) disconnected some weeks back by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) have been reconnected.
A statement by Mr John Onyi, Corporate Communications Manager of PHED quoted the TCN to say through its official twitter handle thus; “The Nigerian Electricity Market Operator has today, 19 August 2019, lifted the Suspension & Disconnection Orders issued PHED after the DisCo complied with the Market Conditions/Market Participation Agreements. In line with Market Rules 45.3.15, the Market Operator hereby notifies Transmission Service Provider to connect back the facilities to the Grid”.
According to Mr Onyi, the two feeders, Borikiri and Secretariat 33kv lines with eight outgoing 11kv feeders affecting State Secretariat, Government House, UTC Area, BMH, Amadi Flats, Moscow Road, Forces Avenue and the entire Port Harcourt Township are back on supply.
He said: “PHED, therefore, appreciates the patience and understanding of its customers in the affected areas while the disconnection lasted and wishes to further remind them that payment of energy consumed is a must if the power industry is to be sustained.
“PHED will continue to strive for improved service delivery to all stakeholders. A situation where the debt profile of the company arising from unpaid energy consumed by its customers in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers states as at June 2019 stood at N161.7 billion is not a welcome development.
“All hands must be on deck by the key players in the value chain with a view to getting the desired result”.
The feeders, it would be recalled, were disconnected by the TCN on 2nd August 2019 where TCN alleged that PHED breached the market rules. PHED said it responded accordingly and sought for clarifications but that TCN remained adamant and subsequently effected the suspension and disconnection orders.
Meanwhile, a way of improving customers’ experience is said to have emerged as the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) introduced a cashless or on-the-spot bills collection system for its customers in Niger Delta including Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Cross River states.
On-The-Spot Collection, according to PHED, is an initiative with proven success in India which has similar energy demands like Nigeria. It was conceived by an Indian firm, Feedback Energy Company Ltd, a technical partner of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company.
Unveiling the new scheme to customers in Port Harcourt, Chief Executive Officer, PHED, Naveen Kapoor, said PHED, therefore, becomes the first Disco to have introduced such a laudable initiative to the Nigerian electricity industry market.
The initiative, Kapoor added, would be managed by authorized staff who would henceforth visit customers with PoS machines for seamless payment at their doorsteps with proper means of identification geared towards improved customer experience especially the post-paid customers.
He said the objective of this initiative is to aggressively follow the path towards modernization, improving customer experience and to ensure that there was no gap in the remittance for energy consumed as a result of lack of access to payment points.
Due to technologically driven company, we are always concerned about how best to engender customers satisfaction at all times.
“With over 513,000 customers, 324,787 are active post-paid customers usually referred to as Non-Maximum Demand scattered in PHED’s coverage area. This is a huge market for us, hence the need to encourage customers seamlessly by bringing our authorized staff with a point of sales machines at their doorsteps”, Kapoor said.