As part of efforts at improving service delivery in line with the Service Reflective Tariff (SRT) regime in the electricity supply industry, BEDC Electricity Plc (BEDC) has begun a major network clean up exercise which entailed mass disconnection of illegal consumers and those with other infractions that could hinder its smooth operation.
The network clean-up which started recently with a mass disconnection in Government Reservation Area (GRA) and Boundary road in Benin city, Edo state saw the company’s team comprising; business unit and service centre officers in these locations, combing the network for illegalities, while also interacting with customers to identify the problems being experienced as a feedback for service improvement, with a view to resolving such complaints/issues to enable legitimate customers continue to enjoy improved service.
Led by the Chief State Head, Edo, Mr Abel Enechaziam, the team during the clean up process directed customers to its Customer Complaints channels to resolve complaints/issues, and encouraged indebted customers to partake in the newly introduced Debt Rescheduling Scheme. Debt Rescheduling Scheme has been developed as a palliative for customers who owe electricity bills and are unable to instantaneously pay such debts given various challenges which has reduced their ability to pay. The scheme provides the opportunity or possibility to restructure the terms and conditions for them to be able to settle their outstanding consumption bills on a longer payment period of up to 60 months.
Prior to the commencement of the network clean up, BEDC had started a massive customer reach-out programme through direct communication with customers by field representatives, POS-Agents, Call Centre representatives aiming to provide to the customer’s individual debt rescheduling solutions based on the Debt Rescheduling Scheme.
“We used the exercise to send a clear message to non-responsive customers that BEDC will not allow infractions to continue within the network. The interaction was friendly and business-oriented. We assisted some of them resolve their issues, while several disconnections took place of others who were hugely indebted or illegally connected. The whole essence was to enable customers to know that BEDC services in terms of energy distribution are sustainable if they pay their bills promptly”, remarked Mr Enechaziam.
He explained that the exercise which entailed going to customer houses and business premises in the chosen locations, afforded BEDC the opportunity of checking installed meters especially Prepaid (PPM) ones, for possible bypass and/or huge debts, saying that such debts was hindering the company from optimising its service delivery.
According to him, those customers willing to settle debts signed debt rescheduling agreements, while those with meter infractions and other illegalities were issued disconnection notices.
“We encourage our esteemed customers to visit the company’s service centres, or reach out through official communication channels, including our website, as well as partner POS Agent Channels to get a detailed insight of debt rescheduling scheme and take advantage of offered debt recovery solutions”, Mr Enechaziam added.
“In all, we appreciate what the exercise was able to achieve and we are glad that the Edo experience brought us closer to customers and also showed that we are working hard to improve customer experience by checking those infractions that could hinder our performance in the quest for improved power supply”, the Edo state CSH spoke further.
Also commenting, the Business Manager of GRA, Engr. Ekaette Etuikudem said: “Our outing created a lot of awareness that BEDC is out to monitor the network and check for illegalities. We are able to send a strong signal to those engaging in bypass that this will no longer be tolerated.
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Customers generally are also aware that electricity supply is not free and they have to pay their bills to continue to enjoy energy distribution to their houses, “the GRA business manager stated.
According to management, the cleans up exercise will also be extended to other BEDC franchise areas in Ondo, Ekiti and Delta states, as a measure towards enhancing the company’s performance whilst responding better to customers complaints in spite of the present period of economic difficulty.