Abuja Disco Expands Vending Operations
The electricity distribution company (Disco) with the franchise to distribute power to consumers in Kogi, Abuja, Nasarawa and parts of Niger, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has upgraded and launched its information technology and vending operations within its coverage areas to 350, adding 300 more to the existing 50 vending points.
AEDC’s Managing Director, Mr. Neil Croucher, who spoke to reporters on this development at its formal presentation of one of the facilities in its Wuse-2 business unit, noted that it partnered with a firm, Kallak Power Limited to set up the 300 extra vending points which he said would make purchase of electricity recharge tokens for prepaid meter convenient for its customers.
Croucher explained that the Disco had obtained clearance from the NERC to go ahead with the expansion. He further stated that third party prepaid sales of its recharge tokens would soon be introduced considering that it has consolidated its five fragmented vending platforms into a single model to improve commercial collection efficiency.
He stated that the firm had met a disintegrated customer service systems when it took over the Disco and thus moved to review and upgrade the systems to meet up increasing demands for efficiency and accountability from its customers.
“What we are commissioning here today is a modern service center linked to our to IT system. With this, once a customer’s complaint is received it immediately comes through the system and the staff will speedily attend to it in a very efficient manner,” Croucher said.
Accordingly, AEDC is in partnership with Kallak Power Limited and Pagatech Limited to facilitate electricity sales and purchase at the 350 new vending points.
He further stated that the facility will provide its customers with easy access to purchase electricity, adding that its plans to roll out 100,000 meters per annum starting from the first quarter of
2016 is still in line.
Further on metering, Croucher said: “To roll out meters successfully you need integrated billing system and since we now have this platform, we are now ready to roll out the meters.”
“We recognised when we came at the earlier stage that customer care and customer service were very poor in the electricity sector, and also with the AEDC. We needed to improve that, but before we do that, we needed to improve the systems that underpin any such electricity organisation.”
“So, we have replaced our billing and vending systems. We have put in IT and management information systems. With that now having being commissioned, the next stage was to roll out vending, to make sure that customers have much easier access to purchase electricity.
“Of course, as we roll out hundreds of meters over the coming years, it is important that as we do that, we also must create the convenience so that customers can easily buy their electricity.
We want to create many platforms for them to buy electricity, either through via conventional means or alternatively by using banks, by using mobile phones or internet. So, these are all the platforms that we are now creating,” he added.
He said on more plans to increase customers’ access to electricity vending point: “The second aspect is the super vending. This is where we have partnered with others who would roll out many pay-points where customers would be able to go and purchase electricity.
We have heard them say today that they would be rolling out hundreds of such pay points at many locations. They are portable devices and can go to many inaccessible areas to create convenience for our customers, especially in the far outline areas. This is part of our efforts to modernise the company and create better access and better customer service.”