Ikeja Electric is using technology to cut its ATC&C losses, improve revenue through better billing systems and engaging more with customers, a review of the company’s performance shows.
Six technological tools have been key in helping the company achieve modest improvements in its operations. The Customer Information System as a database that stores customer information. It uses the EBM software to automate estimated billings and the MobiWorks App to provide realtime vigilance activities and escalations such as capturing of free riders, energy theft and meter bypass.
Ikeja Electric’s Force App is used internally to consolidate several business units and manage process efficiently. The company’s iSafe app is meant for both the company and customers to report hazardous network conditions for improvement. The Meter Reading System is for capturing accurate reading of energy consumption and enhanced reliability of billings.
Ikeja Electric’s Customer Relationship Management tool is to provide record and track customer’s complaints and has been integrated with other key stakeholder units to ensure prompt resolution of customer inquiries and complaints.
In August it announced the introduction of its E-Billings platform which enables customers to receive electricity bills promptly and conveniently, via channels such as SMS, USSD, email, IE Bill portal and IE mobile Application.
“The e-billing initiative is in continuation of Ikeja Electric’s desire to leverage innovation and technology to improve customer experience. It is designed to deliver electronic bills directly to the customer thereby eradicating challenges such as misplaced bills or delayed delivery and other issues which are associated with distribution of physical bills,” the company said in a release.
The use of these technology tools has had measurable improvement in the company’s operations cutting down technical losses from 40 percent in 2014 to 26 percent in 2019. Ikeja said it has been able to improve billings, market, collections and technical efficiency by leveraging technology.
However, while the company has improved collections remarkably, remittance to the market has fallen short. According to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), while Ikeja Electric recorded the best collections efficiency of all the DisCos at 84 percent in the first three months of 2019, it only remitted 39 percent of its collections lower than Eko who recorded 43 percent remittance when collections were at 80 percent.
However, It is noteworthy that tariff shortfall may have partly accounted for the observed low remittance by DisCos,” NERC said in its report.
But when NERC adjusted remittance figures to account for tariff shortfall, it still found that “regardless of the prevailing tariff shortfall DisCos’ remittance is still significantly below the expected threshold.”