Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting
RESPITE has come the way of customers as the Benin Electricity Distribution Company PLC (BEDC), on Thursday, unveiled ‘iRecharge,’ an online payment platform to enhance efficiency in bill collection and easy payment for customers in its franchise states of Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti.
The Managing Director, BEDC, Dr Henry Ajagbawa, made the announcement during the unveiling ceremony of the iRecharge online payment platform at the company’s headquarters in Benin, Edo State.
Ajagbawa noted that customers were unable to reach payment points across its operation areas, adding that it had hindered the ability of the company to make collections from the energy sold.
“One of the reports done by our consultant pointed out the lack of access to payment platforms or agents as one of the significant drawbacks in our operations.
“On top of that, we met on the ground, a monopolist situation, where we had only one aggregator on a payment platform with limited agents of about 1,600. That further accentuated the problem of reachability.
“What we have done when we came on board, is to institute a new payment platform with about 14 aggregators bringing about 15,000 agents across the four states.
“And iRecharge is one of such aggregators that was onboarded for this purpose. They came with this unique payment system,” Ajagbawa said.
The Managing Director tasked the management of iRecharge with the proper execution of the payment platform, adding that the company had not been pleased with some aggregators in the past.
“Therefore, we are using this opportunity to call on iRecharge to be very astute in execution to ensure that bottlenecks are removed,” he added.
Ajagbawa urged iRecharge to work closely with the BEDC cooperate affairs team to get information on every nook and cranny of its operation areas.
According to the MD, the communication strategy must be very intense and deep such that you reach the people in the rural areas in a manner and language they understand.
The Managing Director, iRecharge Tech-Innovations, Mr Tomi Araromi, said the new payment platform provided and paired a unique NUBAN account number to every prepaid and postpaid meter number.
Araromi noted that payment of electricity bills could be made with just one bank transfer to these account numbers.
“What this means is that your prepaid and postpaid meters now have their own account numbers where electricity bills payment can be made.
“Payment to this account number automatically generates and sends a token/receipt to the payee via SMS, Email and WhatsApp without convenience fees.
“You can get your meter bank account numbers via www.irecharge.ng, download the mobile App, dial *6606*1# USSD Code or via WhatsApp through 09096666612,” he said
Also speaking, the National President, Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN), Mr Victor Olojo, said the association was working with iRecharge to provide hitch-free services.