Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting
THE Managing Director of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company PLC (BEDC), Dr Henry Ajagbawa, has banned staff of the company from collecting cash from its customers in its franchise states of Edo, Delta Ondo and Ekiti.
Ajagbawa disclosed the tall order during a meeting with billing and payment agents in Benin, on Wednesday.
He said agents had been engaged to collect bills from customers for the company, and not members of staff.
He noted that the company had broken the monopoly of having only one aggregator with 1,650 agents by engaging additional 11 aggregators and 10,000 agents across the four states.
“We have engaged additional 11 aggregators, who will come with about 10,000 billing and payment agents across the BEDC franchise states.
“I do not understand why any customer will pay cash to any staff when we have advertised over and over again that people should not pay cash to any staff.
“BEDC does not collect cash; if you have to vend or pay bills, there are agents for that purpose.
“If you pay cash to any staff and you do not have evidence of payment, it will not appear in your bill when we come for enumeration.
‘If it does not appear, it means you have not paid and you will pay that money, again. So it does not make sense to pay money to anybody and not collect receipt,” he warned.
According to him, BEDC staff were banned from collecting cash from any customer.
He warned that, “anybody who pays cash to them is simply dashing them the money.
“We cannot rule out the fact that some of our staff are also fraudulent, but if we catch such persons, we prosecute them”, he declared.
He explained that staff were only permitted to carry POS machines to do such transactions electronically when the company goes out on cash drive.
The Managing Director, however, called on the aggregators to be committed to the agreement by ensuring that agents were closer to customers in all BEDC operations areas for convenience.
He also disclosed that the enumeration of customers had begun in the Government Reservation Areas (GRA) in Benin after which about 8,000 meters would be installed.
“We have the meters ready in our store. And similar event is also ongoing in Asaba, Delta. We are taking it step by step.
”Understand that we probably need about N100 billion to meter all our customers, that kind of money we do not have,” he added.
According to him, the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) had significant numbers of meters which customers could buy and the money would be refunded to the customers through vending.