Benin Electricity Distribution Plc. (BEDC) will today take a bold step towards boosting access to electricity and improved services to customers in its franchise as it signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
According to sources close to the Benin DisCo, the event will enable USAID through the Power Africa Project to officially commence its support for the development of Nigeria’s power sector through credit enhancement, grants, technical assistance and investment promotion efforts. President Barrack Obama of United States had launched the Power Africa Initiative to bring together technical and legal experts, the privates sector and governments from around the world to work in partnership to increase the number of people with access to power in Africa including Nigeria.
BEDC management is expected to sign the MOU with USAID agents, Tetratech Inc. one of the contractual vehicles funded by the agency under the Power Africa Transactions and Reforms Program, (PATRP); a five year USAID technical assistance project implemented by Tetra Tech designed to bring more electricity to sub-Saharan Africa by utilizing a transaction-centered approach.
Tetra Tech, as directed by USAID is offering to provide commercialization assistance to BEDC for over a period of about two years focusing on management support to address losses, strengthen management controls and help with the required performance turnaround in its operations. It has engaged a team of professionals already on ground to man some strategic business units in BEDC for the implementation of the technical assistance.
Tetra Tech’s assistance to BEDC will help demonstrate and implement loss reduction strategies, as well as other improvements to allow for improved ways of managing the business to be rolled out through BEDC network and to provide a demonstrative effect for other utilities in the country.
The MOU signing ceremony which climaxes series of preliminary engagements on the part of the two parties is billed for Hilton Hotel Abuja at 11.00am under the watchful eyes of the Minister of Power, Mr Babatunde Fashola and other bigwigs in the power sector. The MOU will set forth the scope and nature of Tetra Tech’s assistance to BEDC, together with its corresponding responsibilities and obligations. Dignitaries from BEDC will include the Alternate Director representing the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on BEDC board , Mrs. Adelanke Omojola the Managing Director/CEO, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, Mr Abu Ismail Ejoor, Executive Director, other board members, and senior management team.
It will be recalled that BEDC in demonstration of its commitment to the provision of improved service delivery to its customers whilst ensuring that power supply connections to its network is not dangerous to the health and safety of the public had embarked on improvement exercises.
In terms of enumeration for instance, a door to door enumeration of existing customers and potential customers including state of the network has begun. In addition, improved and varied payment channels had been provided with options and convenience for customers in paying their bills.
BEDC has also put in place an Enforcement and Monitoring Unit to ensure that connection to the network are in line with safety standards; that only paying customers are on the network and that bypass or illegal connections to its network is not allowed to operate