Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc (IBEDC) has cried out that it is owed over N8.5bn by ministries, departments and agencies of government.

IBEDC, which covers Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Kwara states as well as part of Kogi, Ekiti and Niger states, however put the debts owed to it by federal, state and local governments’ MDAs at N7.22bn, N1.15bn and N185.12m respectively

Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, the Chief Operating Officer, IBEDC, Mr. John Ayodele said planned to spend N91 billion in the next five years to improve network, meter customers and automate operations.

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Ayodele said the Disco would deploy 104,000 meters in the first year and scale up yearly to ensure 98 per cent customer metering by 2024 to reduce losses

He also disclosed that the company would install 530 distribution transformers and 112 feeders in two years in addition to upgrading most of its network assets.

On the challenges facing the Disco, Ayodele said, “Tariff is still not cost-reflective. Increasing energy cost is driven by the impact of worsening exchange rate on gas price, capital expenditure, inflation, constraints on the grid, and frequent collapse of the grid.

“Energy theft/vandalism is a big problem. We recorded over 15,032 cases of energy theft between January and July 2021. Seven out of every 10 new meters installed are bypassed in the first week of installation.”

According to him, IBEDC will complement grid energy supply by partnering with alternative power suppliers through franchising model, but lamented that the country lost over N200m last year as a result of about 122 cases of vandalism.

Ayodele stated that 95 per cent of IBEDC customer base do not pay their bills fully, even those that are metered and as at 2020, MDAs are owing over N8.5 billion.

He affirmed that discos are making huge losses monthly and the losses make it difficult for investors, both local and foreign, to invest in the industry.