Gwamna: The changer of Nigerian electricity distribution
By Ahmad Muhammad Danyaro
Nigerians are desirous of growth in the power sector to drive investment and increase job creation.
Such systematic growth is hopefully predicated on regular supply, eradication of estimated billing through the provision of meters to all customers by all power distribution companies, popularly referred to as Discos, who are at the end of the power sector value chain.
The Federal Government, on November 1, 2013, had handed over 10 distribution companies (Discos) and six generation companies (Gencos) to private investors, after a rigorous privatization exercise. The selection of the new and private owners of the utilities belonging to the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was informed by their technical capabilities and business plans, for the recovery of the obsolete capacities and reduction of aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses.
Various development plans in Nigeria highlight the criticality of increasing energy security and electricity penetration for economic and social transformation. Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO), as the leading one, has been at the centre of ensuring supply of safe, reliable and efficient electricity services to its numerous customers.
Since inception in 2013, KEDCO, under the visionary management of Dr. Jamilu Isyaku Gwamna, has almost doubled the electricity distribution network infrastructure, increased distribution efficiency, built organization and staff capability, with overall improvements of staff and public safety.
The best way to ensure the balance between the energy supplied and what an electricity customer consumes is to install a meter and such metering device can either be pre-paid or post-paid.
Estimated billing occurs when a customer does not have a meter. Utility billing practices, worldwide, would indicate that estimated billing is a standard and conventional tool that is in much use even in advanced economies.
Industry pundits are of the opinion that the several years of historical neglect of the power sector, will require huge investment, commitment, focus and patience for its turnaround.
As part of continued investment in the power distribution, the Managing Director of KEDCO, Dr. Jamilu Isyaku Gwamna recently has been up-grading and up-scaling the network capacity of the company as a major firm with a view to ensuring that the story of the power sector in Northern part of the country is better told in terms of industrialization and employment generation not forgetting massive revamp of the economies of rural communities through efficient and improved power distribution.
Gwamna, a power technocrat and an astute reformer who believes unrepentantly in engineering youth engagement through whatever tool in his hand, has always reiterated the need for power revolution to address the enormous shortfalls in employment of the teeming youths and addressing the growing concerns to make the nation’s economy the pride of Africa through non-oil sector.
As a reformer, having inherited a dilapidated system of power supply, the Kano DisCo boss has ingeniously addressed that challenge through the required huge investments and over the last five years, the company has invested billions of Naira in enhancing power supply to customers.
Gwamna, in that light, has made several calls on the customers to reciprocate the services being rendered by the company by endeavouring to pay their bills accordingly just to sustain the reformation for the future.
As part of the repositioning of the company, the Corporate Communication Unit under Gwamna’s dynamic leadership has been identifying existing media opportunities as well as integrating new/social media tools with traditional media into its internal and external communications to improve KEDCO-customers and other stakeholders relation which is championed by a young, vibrant and highly media-experienced Gwamna’s appointee, Malam Ibrahim Sani Shawai as KEDCO’s new head of the corporate communications.
The company said the appointment was part of its plan to rebrand the image of the company through strategies aimed at giving maximum satisfaction to all stakeholders of the company. Malam Shawai, a member of five professional bodies including the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations and Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, was appointed through a letter signed by Dr. Gwamna, the Managing Director of the company to join in its reformation journey as it is being driven by the Kano DisCo boss.
Since the new Head of Corporate Communications assumed office few weeks back, there has been a sustained effort to create new momentum in the firm’s internal and external communications through press releases, talk shows, news conferences, special events, broadcast and digital media and in fact the outfit now has an empire in the hearts of every customer within its franchise areas.
The company’s growth in terms of network capacity, staff training, initiating modern programmes and vision of becoming the best service-delivery distribution firm in the nation is very much on course. The Sardaunan Gombe-led management team has restated and re-fuelled the company’s commitment to business sustainability through financial results, customer relations, employee engagement, operational processes, safety and regulatory compliance, environmental performance and community support.
It is working very hard to further strengthen the improvement the company records going into the future.
As part of the efforts towards improved working condition for its staff; the company recently signed condition of service for its employees with leaders of the electricity workers under the aegis of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC).
The signed condition of service had incorporated all rights of employers and the management as well as improved packages and allowance that would boost commitment and dedication among the staff of firm.
As the game changer, Dr. Gwamna strives to provide the impetus to make the outfit the best distribution company in service delivery.
The results are now glaring in the network expansion of critical infrastructure to improve distribution, opening more customer service points and technical service point to improve customers’ satisfaction. It is left to be seen how the huge investment put in place to fast-track the firm to a world class power distribution company will provide the necessary cutting edge technology in service delivery and customer intimacy.
Danyaro writes from Kano and can be reached via his e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.