By Oke Peter
Being a great leader is all about having a genuine willingness and a true commitment to lead others to achieve a common vision and goals through positive influence. —John C. Maxwell.
For the leading Nigerian electricity distribution company, Ikeja Electric Plc, the will to win, the desire to succeed and the urge to reach full potential are the keys that have been unlocking the doors to growth and excellence. The company has moved beyond being a reputable power distribution firm to becoming a distinguished name in a charitable trust.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the management of Ikeja Electric possesses non-negotiable traits that every effective leader must have: a sense of calling, an ability to communicate, creativity in problem solving, generosity, and consistency.
Established on November 1, 2013, following the handover of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to NEDC/KEPCO Consortium under the privatization scheme of the Federal Government of Nigeria. With over $131 million asset at inception and 700,000 customers, the company has been growing in strength and capacity.
As a licensed electricity distribution company with six business units traversing Abule Egba, Ikeja, Akowonjo, Ikorodu, Shomolu, and Oshodi. Ikeja Electric network boasts of 16 Transmission Substation, 160 33/11 kV Transformers, 1257 33/0.415 kV Transformers, 15960 11/0.415 kV Transformers; 2375 MVA Installed Transmission Capacity; 2092.57 MVA Installed Transformer Capacity (33/11kV); Installed Transformer Capacity (33/0.415kV); 526.135 MVA Installed Transformer Capacity; (11/0.415kV), 3426.652 MVA, Route Length 33 kV Feeders, 901.32 Ckt Km, Route Length 11 kV Feeders; 2449.05 Ckt Km, Route Length 0.415 kV Feeders; 7233.23 Ckt Km, Longest Urban 33 kV Feeder 196.4 Ckt Km, Average Route Length of Urban 33 kV feeder; 13.23 Ckt Km.
With the aforesaid infrastructural strength which no other power distributor in the country can boast of, the company modestly complies with the Regulations, Codes, and Standards guiding its operations as well as the principles set out in the National Code of Corporate Governance, by the regulatory agencies including the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and international best practices as a public company.
Interestingly, Ikeja Electric’s Anthony Yaoudeowei-led management understands that good corporate governance is fundamental to earning the trust of the people, which is critical to sustaining the organisation’s success and preserving shareholder value. The company is endowed with dedicated staff members, experts and consultants who toil day and night to ensuring that customers are provided with stable, and reliable electricity.
Residents of Mainland would testify to the fact that Ikeja Electric’s technical personnel who are fully kitted with safety gadgets are always on the streets fixing electrical faults as well as promptly responding to emergencies.
Consequently, the company has no doubt demonstrated its commitment to improving the quality of lives of residents of its areas of operation as evidenced by the impact of its Personal Corporate Social Responsibility (PCSR) initiatives. For instance, the Employee Volunteer Scheme (EVS) under the firm’s PCSR programme, enables Ikeja Electric staff members to voluntarily contribute their time and resources to the welfare of Nigerians. This charitable gesture reflects the large-heartedness of both management and staff of Ikeja Electric, to contribute to the progress of the society to the extent that it has touched virtually every socio-economic facet of its customers.
Ikeja Electric’s is the first Disco in the country that introduced a ‘Debt Discount’ initiative, which provided various percentage discount options to enable customers to pay off their outstanding bills and meet their financial obligations to the company.
In the area of health, safety and environment, Ikeja Electric emerged as the Most Responsive HSE/Emergency Management Company in the Power Sector. A body established to promote professionalism and best practices in Emergency, Crisis, Disaster and Safety, The Emergency, Crisis, Disaster Safety, Environmental Risk Management Institute presented the award to the company at the 3rd Annual National Emergency/Disaster Managers Conference, held at Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Conference and Exhibition Center on the 30th of November, 2018.
Also, in continuation of Ikeja Electric’s desire to leverage on innovation and technology to improve customer experience, its e-billing initiative, became the first in the industry that complied with regulatory requirements, the platform, which enables customers to receive electricity bills promptly via SMS, USSD, email, IE Bill portal and IE mobile Application.
According to the firm’s Head of Corporate Communications, Felix Ofulue, “With the introduction of e-billing system, bills are delivered faster, it helps customers to reduce unwanted clutter of papers in their home, it eliminates manual printing and distribution of bills with all its attendant challenges, the risk of bills being lost in transit or affected by bad weather is also avoided, while it offers electronic tracking of bills delivery. In addition, the e-billing initiative is a step towards greater environmental sustainability.”
In recognition of this, the company bagged the SERAs Innovation Prize for 2018 at the event held last December at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. The competition was keenly contested by Union Bank Plc, ISON BPO, Access Bank and Data Jaja, in a category that focused on innovative and sustainable ideas with a positive environmental impact on society.
Ikeja Electric was nominated in three categories; Best Corporate Communications Team, Best Stakeholder Engagement and Sera’s Prize for Innovation.
According to the organizers, Ikeja Electric emerged winner of the Innovation Award because of its innovative approach to promote electrical safety standards among staff, contractors, customers, and the general public through the introduction of its proprietary game POWERPLAY©.
The POWERPLAY© is the company’s proprietary board game designed to educate people on safety measures. The Boardgame, which can accommodate up to six (6) players, is an “edutainment” tool, providing critical information relating to electrical hazards and safety measures that can prevent loss of life and property.
Moreover, its determination to empower youths under its network area to make them economically and socially responsible through technical skill acquisition is second to none, Ikeja Electric recently partnered with Slot Foundation to train 40 young persons in skill acquisition and capacity building empowerment scheme tagged: Youth Empowerment Program (YEP). At the end of the training, beneficiaries were provided with startup capital and equipment.
Also, to mark this year’s Valentine Day,
officials of the firm visited and celebrated with kids at Children’s Ward of National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi Lagos (NOHIL). The team spent quality time and showed love to the kids, who were recuperating in the hospital. They presented them with gift packs and provisions to celebrate the occasion.
In the area of health, while demonstrating a commitment to the wellbeing of customers within its network, the firm in collaboration with one of its business partners, XT Monitor Ltd, organized a four-day medical outreach for the benefit of communities within its network. The outreach, which focused on the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases with special attention to diabetes and hypertension amongst others, was facilitated by a United States Medical Mission (USMM) comprising five medical specialists that are providing free treatment to numerous beneficiaries.
The Managing Director of XT Monitor, Kayode Adeoti, said: “The medical outreach aligns with our strategy of engagement with the communities and also provides a platform to demonstrate that we and our principal, Ikeja Electric care for the wellbeing of the customers in the communities where we work. It is our hope that the impact will be significant and far-reaching for the beneficiaries.”
In furtherance to her environmental sustainability message and as part of its support for the Cleaner Lagos Initiative of the Lagos State Government, the company embarked on a market clean-up exercise in one of its host communities at the Alade Market under Shomolu Business Unit. Ikeja Electric staff defied the heavy rain downpour to sweep the market, unclog gutters and remove dumped refuse along the street among other activities.
In his welcome remarks, the Babaloja General of the market, Alhaji Yinusa Bashir commended Ikeja Electric for being consistent with its PCSR initiative, especially with the Community and Market clean-up exercise.
Moreover, in commemoration of the International Day of Charity, Ikeja Electric donated essential items including clothes and food to the Lagos State Rehabilitation and Training Centre, Ikorodu. The International Day of Charity is observed annually on September 5. The day is set aside to sensitize and mobilize people, NGOs and stakeholders all around the world to help others through volunteer and philanthropic activities.
According to Mr. Ofulue, “the exercise was aimed at supporting the concerted effort of government, charitable organizations, individuals and other corporate bodies to further alleviate the plight of the underserved in society.”
While receiving the donations, which included foodstuff, clothes, shoes and personal care products, on behalf of the rehabilitees, the Principal of the Centre, Mr. Adebimpe Eyiowuawi, commended IE for the expression of love, care, and empathy towards the rehabilitees.
Similarly, in line with its commitment to the provision of quality and reliable services to its customers as well as enhancing electricity supply to residents of the area. In July this year, the company launched a N500 million New Injection Substation; this move has increased the supply of power to about 18 hours daily to the residents of K-Fam Estate, Olowo area, Obawole Community and Adisa Coker among others.
Recalls that in its bid to ensuring that electricity customers only pay for what they actually consumed, the NERC approved a regulation that provides for the supply, installation, and maintenance of end-user meters by other parties approved by the Commission. The regulation is expected to fast track closure of the metering gap and encourages the development of independent and competitive meter services in the electricity industry.
However, Ikeja Electric, on June 10, flagged on the Meter Asset Providers (MAP) scheme targeting over 500,000 unmetered customers within its network. The firm said it has engaged three Meter Asset Providers to undertake the task of acquiring and installation of meters on its behalf.
Speaking at the launch in Ikorodu, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the company, Anthony Yaoudeowei said the firm would establish a number of Dispute Resolution Centers (DRC) to handle anticipated bill disputes arising from estimated billing regime.
Commenting on the rollout plan, the Managing Director of New Hampshire Capital, the MAP, in charge of Ikorodu and Epe, Mr. Odion Omonfoman, said the company would in the next 18 months commence metering of customers within its jurisdiction.
The company is partnering with local meter manufacturers to achieve 30 percent local content as demanded by the regulation. Omonfoman said the company has secured a ten-year contract with Ikeja Electric for the exercise.
The Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Regulation (Regulation No. NERC/R/112), which was formally flagged off on May 1, introduced meter asset providers as a new set of service providers in Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry.
The stipulated cost of a single-phase meter is N38, 850 while a three-phase meter is N70, 350. These are all inclusive of VAT.
Also in August, the company signed ‘The Premium Power’ initiative. A power purchase agreement under the ‘Willing Buyer, Willing Seller’ initiative issued by the NERC with Magodo Residents Association (MRA) to boost power supply within the Estate. The agreement involved a commitment to specific service level standards while the customer agrees to pay a tariff that is above the current MYTO tariff.
Commenting on the improved power supply, a resident of the Estate, Mr. Innocent Nwankwo, expressed satisfaction at the level of supply they were getting from Ikeja Electric. He said: “We currently enjoy 24 hours supply and we believe this initiative is giving us value. We have a mixed development in Magodo Estate. There are those who operate the business and there are residential. We all need adequate supply.”
Consequently, while others are giving excuses for nonperformance, Ikeja Electric is doing all it’s best to go the ‘extra mile’ in the service to humanity.
In view of this, ‘To whom much is giving, much is expected’, the customers and communities under Ikeja Electric’s network should reciprocate these gestures by shunning corrupt practices, energy wastage, vandalism, meter bypass, and electricity theft, among others. They should pay their electricity bills regularly, as well as report any act of sabotage to the company’s dedicated numbers.
Similarly, corporate organizations in the country are advised to borrow a leaf from Ikeja Electric, if this is done, the world will be a better place for all.