By Matthew Ajai-Kume, Naomi Okoh and Raphael Mailumo
Governor Samuel Ortom has launched the National Mass Metering Scheme of the Jos Electricity Distribution Company, saying that the launching of the scheme is to ensure the metering of all customers in Makurdi the state capital.
The Governor performed the ceremony recently in Makurdi when he played host to the Chairman, Board of Directors, Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JED), Alhaji Inuwa Babangida.
He stated that, light is the live wire of any organisation and it plays a vital role in wealth creation through the provision of employment opportunities while stating that, obsolete cables had been the bane of steady electricity supply in some parts of the state.
Governor Ortom called on the management of the company to ensure there is local content in their recruitment to provide effective security for their facilities and assured them of his administration’s collaboration for effective result while commending the Makurdi Branch Manager of the Company, Mr Joseph Kwaghgba, for his steadfastness and dedication to duty and appealed to the company to extend the 330 KVA to Industrial Layout to encourage production.
In an address, Alhaji Inuwa Babangida noted that, the leadership of JED is investing over N800 million on the land which was allocated to them by Benue State Government.
“We shall work towards the replacement of obsolete cables with galvanized steer tower to boost electricity supply in North Bank, Makurdi and other parts of the state,” he stated.
Alhaji Inuwa further stated that, the mass metering scheme which is to be executed in phases has 28,000 metres to be distributed in Benue State in the first phase. He said the company had budgeted resources to improve electricity supply in Benue and other states under its franchise while maintaining that, the support of Benue State Government was the key to actualisation of the result.
In another development, some residents of Makurdi have cried out over the rising electricity tariff. The Voice gathered that there has been a sharp rise in the tariff and some residents see it as an anomaly not commensurate with the supply of power enjoyed.
A resident of Media Village in Achusa, Makurdi, Mr Paulinus Terkula told The Voice that he was billed N10,000 per month for his residence via the estimated billing system, whereas, he had been paying roughly N4,000 – N6,000 in the past.
He lamented that the increase is unreasonable, suggesting that JED has to make available prepaid metres across to mitigate over billing.
Another Makurdi resident, Mrs Grace Okoh of High Level appealed to the electricity distribution company to address the tariff increment as they find it difficult paying for electricity now.
According to her, although they do not get power supply as desired, the cost has kept increasing to their detriment.
“I urge JED to provide us prepaid metres in order to checkmate indiscriminate and outrageous bills,” she stated.
Meanwhile, the Regional Manager, JED, Mr Joseph Kwaghgba, in an interview with The Voice in his office in Makurdi recently stated that electricity charges are altered yearly due to certain factors within the ambit of the Distribution Company (DISCO) including the likes of inflation rate, change in exchange rate and others
He explained that the change in exchange rate affects their charges considering that those variables change and then go beyond regulation of DISCO, they could be a right change in tariff and this was designed to run from this period to 2024. He noted that there have been slight changes over the year in tallying of all the DISCOS and JED is no exception.
On the provision of constant light and meters to consumers, the regional manager said, “I know that we are now far above the capacity we have, few years ago. If you look at our records we are doing 13-14 million kilowatts per hour in terms of releasing for this region and in the last two years, JED has seriously increased to about 18 million kilowatts per hour.”
He further disclosed that the metering programme is in segments and JED is taking it feeders by feeders, saying, “so gradually we will be able to reach out to at least a reasonable percentage of customers.”