In Nigeria, the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) has earmarked $13,5 million for the procurement of smart meters for over 741,000 customers in its network, this is according to CEO, Funke Osibodu, The Nation reported.
BEDC to receive much needed maintenance
Osibodu said that installations for over 100,000 customers will commence in the first phase, adding that measures were being implemented to tackle the challenges around the operations, maintenance, and human resources, which it inherited from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
Some of these issues extend to include aging systems, which have been poorly maintained, unreliable and overloaded systems, low demand side management (DSM) initiatives, corporate governance challenges, lack of technology interventions to reduce revenue leakage and lack of skilled manpower, The Nation reported.
Osibodu added that since utility takeover in November 2013, several upgrades have been implemented, with significant improvements made with regards to safety practices and unsafe network for the public.
Smart meters: funds to make a difference
Osibodu was optimistic that the $13,5 million smart meters project investment will adequately address customers meter challenges, media reported.
“We don’t have control over generation and transmission. We are like collection agents for the entire power industry. Across the power supply value chain in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), we collect the entire money but just get 25 per cent of the total collections.
“Once we collect the billing from the customers, the generation companies (GenCos) get 60 per cent and pays the gas suppliers, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) gets 11 per cent, while the regulator, bulk trader and market operator get the remaining four per cent,” she said.
She added: “We are directed to meter all our customers within one year, but we are constrained by the limit of capital expenditure (capex) that we can invest. We at BEDC cannot spend above N4 billion per year as capital expenditure and if we invest above that, we won’t be able to recover our investment due to the present tariff structure.”