How We Are Tackling The Challenges
of “NEPA 2”
CCD: Abdulhamid Abubakar, you are the Supervisor for Governors Feeder. What is your role as a Supervisor?
AA: As a Supervisor I have a lot to do. I am more like the Managing Director (MD) of my Service Center, I oversee all the activities of all the staff under my Service Centre and I make sure that every staff is committed to the job.
CCD: What are your strategies for running the Service Center?
AA: I have trained my staff, especially the Marketers on how to achieve the organization’s set objectives. We normally do community engagement which I consider key to the success of this business. This enables our customers to know how this business is being run, how much we value them as our customers even though our business looks like a monopoly.
We use the medium to tell them that the energy was bought and when it is sold, it is expected that they as the customers pay so that we can remain in business.
AA: We have achieved so many things. The number one thing for me is the collection, which is the backbone of the business.
When I assumed duty here it was 6 million Naira and now we have moved up to 7.5 million Naira in the last two months except for this month, which generally recorded a drop in collection due to the prevalent financial problem all over, and the bills that didn’t come out early enough.
CCD: How would you describe the kind of challenges you are facing?
AA: The issue of our staff not using their initiative when there is a need is something of concern to me. Take the new bills for instance, they are supposed to enlighten the customers on the fact that our bills are now wearing a new look and make clarifications where need be but many of them don’t do this.
Secondly, the issue of “NEPA 2”, when we disconnect a defaulting customer, they reconnect the customer for as low as Five Hundred Naira (N500), so the customers patronize them because it is cheaper compared to paying Two Thousand Naira (N2,000) to Kaduna Electric for reconnection. This situation has led us to disconnect a whole community because they refused to pay their bills. A community like Shaiskawa was disconnected last week in order to compel them to pay their bills, and I can tell you that out of 26 bills, they cleared 18 and we promptly reconnected those who paid leaving only the defaulting customers.
CCD: What do you think can be done to stop the activities of “NEPA 2”?
AA: We have started something for now on Afamu Road, where we asked them to set up a committee on power. The Chairman and Secretary of the committee will be part of our bill distribution and line disconnection exercise. Thereafter, should there be any illegal reconnection, the committee Chairman and Secretary will be held responsible. This tactic has worked very well so far; we hope to replicate it in other Clusters.
CCD: How are you managing your relationship with staff in order make them work towards achieving their goals?
AA: I maintain a cordial relationship with my staff; we work as a team because if anyone fails in his responsibility, it would affect the whole Service Center. I always make them see the team as a family whereby if one person has a challenge we can work together to fix the problem.
I have told the Marketers to manage their Clusters like their personal business because our daily bread depends on the success of the company and it is only when we take ownership of it that it can succeed.
I have also assigned Engineers to the Marketers to enable them tackle technical problems.
In fact, right now there is a Marketer on leave, but we are not feeling her absence because an Engineer has been sent to replace her and so the work is going on smoothly in Governors Feeder as one big family.
CCD: Any appeal/suggestion to staff/management.
AA: I am appealing to the management to provide security for us especially where/when we are faced with stubborn customers. We need security because of the kind of hostility we face and the notion that they (customers) cannot be punished if they hurt any of us needs to be addressed.
But if we had some security or law protecting us in the discharge of our duties, such harassment will reduce.
Look at what happened to one of our Engineers at Airport Feeder, Sabon Gari; he was beaten almost to a pulp. I had to disconnect the entire village from my network and I wrote to the Head Office to inform them about the incident. The Village Head later came with the BDRO to clear their debt and an agreement was reached before they were reconnected.