Thursday, 22 February 2018


It Would Pay Us More To Increase Supply To MD Customers

CCD: Aliyu Sa'idu, you work in the Maximum Demand (MD) Unit, tell us what your typical day is like? 
A: Mostly, I do monthly meter reading, bills distribution, cash/drive collection, monitoring and all other aspects as it concerns MD customers.

CCD: What would you consider the most difficult part of managing Maximum Demand Customers?
A: One of the most frequent complaints is supply interruption. They mostly complain of non-supply/short hours of supply from their Feeders, which sometimes results in huge losses to them or sometimes when a power surge leads to damaged equipment. This, in many cases, has a resulted in delayed payment.

CCD: Which other class of customer do you cater to?
A: We only attend to MD customers and no other class of customer.

CCD: What would you consider your major achievement since you assumed duty?
A: One major achievement is maintaining a good relationship with our customers, which has resulted in prompt settlement of bills. 

CCD: How prepared is the MD Unit in meeting the 2-billion-naira target?
A: Of course, we can do it, there is huge potential and we are working towards harnessing it at the MD Unit. 
We have put strategies in place to make sure that the set target by the MD/CEO is not only realizable but also accomplished within the time frame. 
On our part, we would ensure timely reading of our Grid allocation and all our MD meters, proper documentation of all meter related issues, ensure timely billing, proper tariff placement of all our MD customers.
Other strategies include, prompt attendance to customers' complaints regarding metering, proper load assessment, analysis and periodic review of all high consumption customers; this would enable us to know if a customer needs to be converted to an MD customer.
We would also ensure that we mobilize our MD representatives to give disconnection notice as early as the middle of the month to enable the customers pay as quickly as possible so as to avoid disconnection.
 I believe all these would enable us to boost our collections.
I would also like to use this medium to advise my colleagues to be proactive and work with initiative on their day-to-day activities, as it will go a long way in reducing some of the losses we incur.
 They should shun all acts of indiscipline and corruption or anything capable of tarnishing the image of the company. They must also remember that there are new rules and regulations guiding the execution of any job, which must be strictly adhered to you if you are ready to stay and move forward together. 

CCD: The MD customers are no doubt the cash cows of the company, what do you think the management should do to improve revenue from this class of customers?
A: Management should look into those Feeders that solely supply MD meters and increase the hours of supply, as this would directly reflect on our revenue collection. When supply increases, the figures on the bills will increase, our ATC&C losses will reduce. 

Thursday, 15 February 2018


Work Challenges Sharpen My Leadership Skills

CCD: May we meet you?
AD: My name is Ahmad Danjuma Sulaiman.  I am an indigene of Bida Local Government, Niger State. I was born and brought up in Kaduna state. I schooled in Kaduna, Abuja, Kano and Niger states. I have OND in Banking and Finance and BSc in Economics.

CCD: Tell us what it is like supervising a Service Center?
AD: As a supervisor I oversee the whole Service Centre, which includes staff and the customers. Generally, a supervisor puts the resources, people, money, information, facilities, and equipment in to the best/profitable use in order to help the company achieve its goals. 

CCD: A 150-million-Naira target has just been set for Gusau Area Office for the month of February, how do you intend to achieve that?
AD: My vision and strength towards achieving the target of 150m Naira is already in progress. Firstly, there is an ongoing re-enumeration of illegal and/or uncaptured customers to enable us record their payments, correction of over/under billings, enhanced personal marketing, strengthened collaboration with the LG chairman, traditional leaders and other stakeholders, among others, to help us increase our collection.

CCD: The State CID, Zamfara State, recently detained you; tell us what happened?
AD:  I was detained at State CID on Monday, 22nd January 2018 on account of the disconnection of the private residence of His Excellency, Alhaji AbdulAziz Yari Abubakar, Governor of Zamfara State. This detention, we were told, was carried out on his instruction. I think he was told that some hoodlums disconnected his residence, thereby endangering him and his family.
I have taken the experience as a challenge, because challenges are inevitable in life and we must always learn from it; in fact, I am prepared for any other form of challenge.  It is part of the experience of growing as a leader.
Challenges only come to make us better and stronger. If I am given directive to disconnect any customer who has refused to pay his bills, whatever his position, I will gladly do it.

CCD: There are speculations that a lot marketing staff are not committed to their job, how true is this?
We are often misjudged that we do not treat this business as if it is ours.  That is a misconception. I tell my colleagues in Mafara that they should not allow our efficiency to be affected by inadequate resources or by situations when we are faced with threats.

CCD: You just mentioned threats as some of the challenges you face. What then is your relationship with the security agencies?
AD: We have a cordial relationship with the various security agencies, such that whenever we need their assistance, they respond as quickly as possible.
Even though, my recent experience with the DPO was not palatable, he was acting under an instruction to arrest us from where we were taken to the state CID. Otherwise, we have a good relationship with the police and on our part we try not to be on the wrong side of the law.

CCD: Any appeal or suggestions to staff and management?
AD: My advice to management is to give staff welfare a priority alongside their efforts to achieve the mission and vision of the company.
They should provide them with a peaceful, conducive and safe working environment because it is with the workforce that a vision can be achieved; 'without the goose, there would be no golden eggs'.
Recognition and encouragement should be given to deserving staff. 
Lastly, to my colleagues: they should be dedicated, passionate and have positive attitude in the discharge of their duties.

Thursday, 8 February 2018


Interaction with customers is gradually moving to Social Media Platforms
CCD: Nasiru Isah, as a staff of the Customer Care Unit, how would you describe your functions?
NI: Our major objective is to create value for the company by practicing our marketing philosophy of being customer-centric. The idea behind this philosophy is putting the customer first. 
Also, because the customer is the reason why we are in business, we have to treat him as king. 
Customer complaints are handled by providing appropriate and professional solutions. To achieve our set objective, we bring our experience, knowledge and expertise in resolving complaints. These we combine with the recent improvement in processes and technology as introduced by the company. Our major objective is to ensure that the customer is happy and satisfied with our services.
CCD: Obviously, complaint resolution is a major part of what you do. What would you say is the most frequent complaints you get from your area?
NI: Basically, there are three kinds of complaints we receive at the Kaduna Road Service Centre. We have complaints on prepaid meters (PPM), complaints on billing and complaints that are technical in nature.
But the most frequent complaints are those on prepaid meter, maybe because the Service Center has the highest number of PPM customers compared to other service centers.
CCD: What is the difficult part of being a customer care representative?
NI: Undoubtedly, it is handling of a dissatisfied customer whose complaint has remained unresolved for a long period of time.
Such a customer is likely to become abusive thus, difficult to handle. 
For me, the way out is to remain calm, focused and professional in handling such a customer.
CCD: Teamwork is one of the company's core values; do you consider yourself a team player?
NI:  Yes, I do. When you see teams that succeed, it is because when members have a commitment to common objective, within defined roles and responsibilities a lot can be achieved.                                                                                           
I believe I am a team player because I have the ability to work in a team and influence a positive result. An area office may perform better than another just because team members have agreed to work together.
CCD: Do you have any suggestion on how we can improve relationship with our customers?
NI: More of today's marketing is moving from the market place into cyberspace. I will suggest that we implement the strategy for managing all the company's relationship and interaction by optimizing our social media accounts. This strategy offers opportunity to interact with customers 24/7. Multinationals, such as Tata Power and General Electric are using it to add value to their services.
CCD: What Advice would like to give to management?
NI: My advice to management is to implement total quality excellence in all aspect of our operations, especially technical and human resources. We need to invest more in people and processes; we need personnel that have the required skills, a workforce that has zeal to work.
The mentality of the workforce has to be such that they understand the company's   values of Teamwork, Integrity, Excellence and Sustainability.  

Wednesday, 7 February 2018


We’re Proactive in Tackling Fraud Team Lead, Audit

Yusuf Mohammed is the Team Lead, Audit Unit.  In this interview with our staff he reveals his plans to achieve his mandate of cost reduction while getting value for every penny spent. He talked about his achievements in 2017 and how he intends to surpass all that in the New Year. Read on…

CCD:  Yusuf Mohammed Adebayo as the Team Lead, Audit what was your unit mandated to achieve?
YA: The main object of the audit unit is to ensure that everything we do in the company is in compliance with the rules, regulation and management policies of the company.
 CCD: In 2017, how would you rate yourself in terms of how much you were able to achieve?
YA: We are all aware that the company policy is being reworked; we are now at the final stage. Naturally, our audit program is expected to align with the company policy, NERC regulations and other financial regulations in line with our industry practice.
We work with what serves as our Holy book, which is a compilation of every audit requirement of the entire department. What this means is that if an Auditor was to audit Corporate Communications department (CCD), there are things he is expected to look out for based on the requirement as stated in the Manual guiding us.
For a department like Corporate Communications, which might have entered a contract with print media in which the agreement states that a message or an advert should be carried at a particular time and at an agreed number of times.
An auditor assigned to a department like that is expected to look out for the following:
Did CCD enter into proper agreement with them, at what rate, time, and number of slots?  Are these in conformity with what the organization delivered?
When we get an invoice from the media house, all the aforementioned will equally be checked. This is similar in other departments. For instance, a department wants to pay for a transformer that has just been serviced; the auditor would have to get a confirmation that the service received is okay before he approves any payment.

CCD: How well would you say that you have been able to achieve what this unit was setup to do?
YA: In 2017, without scoring ourselves too high, I would say 80% because in everything that we did, we ensured that we got value for money.
 In 2017, management started funding the Area Offices; we followed through to ensure that all those monies gave value to the company.
That was why all the projects awarded were inspected before payment was made. There have been situations where we have asked contractors to go back to site to make corrections before payments were made.
In 2017, we ensured the salary audit was properly done; the addition and the subtraction as employees come and go. Others include cash analysis, which has already commenced in the New Year.  This is to ensure that all collections delivered to management is exactly what was collected.

CCD: What are your plans for the New Year?
YA: What I intend to do especially in 2018 is what we call
“Rapid Response”. If you look at our outfit today, you will see that we are all dressed alike; we are just coming from Kawo Cash Office, where we conducted an on the spot cash count. This is in line with the company’s policy and we intend to continue in that manner.
The purpose is to have an on the spot view of what is happening in the cash offices and to detect mismanagement. This has started yielding results because before the end of the first week of every month all reports on cash activities from all Area Offices must be submitted.
The Cash Offices receive money daily, and they deposit what they collect at the bank. Audit doesn’t get to see the statement until end of the month. What now happens is, immediately we receive the statement, every auditor goes to each area office to check the transactions one-by-one, cashier-by-cashier, day to day so at the end of three to four days you would be able to give a comprehensive report on each area office. All the findings should have been compiled and sent to management by the first week.
The purpose of this is to make sure that collections are being monitored closely, and also to ensure that every single Kobo collected has been remitted. 
CCD: How specifically would you say that your role as an auditor impacts on the business?
YA: Our job generally is to keep everybody on their toes because a lot of people have the misconception that Audit only acts when there is a fraud case.
We are more proactive than reactionary in approach in ensuring accountability in the system. 
We also ensure that every aspect of the business acts in accordance with rules of the business.
For 2018, we have a plan to visit area offices at the end of every month to look at units under Marketing Department, example, Customer Care to check their customer complaints/resolution handling process.  We will start by looking out for the complaints, how many complaints do they receive, how soon are they resolved, what do they do to unresolved complaints. This is part one of core areas of responsibilities and not just going after fraudulent cases.

CCD: Investigating fraud cases is synonymous with Audit Unit; tell us how you have been managing it?
YA: Yes. But you will notice that you don’t get to hear much about fraud cases these days because a lot of people now know that Auditors can pay them unannounced visits. Today, for instance, we went to Kawo Service Center without prior announcement.
Mobility is a constraint, because as auditors, we are ready to move from here to Gusau this morning. That is one of the reasons why we would concentrate on place like Kaduna for instance.

CCD: Are there measure put in place by Audit Unit to prevent the occurrence of fraud?
YA:  One of our proactive measures in the year 2018 is paying unscheduled visits to service centers. The visit to Kawo will send a signal to Rigasa and other Service Centers, thereby putting everybody on their toes.

CCD: You just mentioned mobility as one of the challenges in carrying out your task, are there any other challenges that make the job difficult?
YA: Yes, processing my team’s report is difficult because they don’t have Laptops; anytime they have to write a report they write it on paper (manually), they would have to look for the assistance of a friend before they can send their report. Typically, an audit report is not supposed to be seen by third party; if the report must be made public, then management would do it. 
CCD: How have you been managing all these despite the challenges?
YA: I have been squeezing them that they should find a way of typing the report and the confidentiality must not be breached, yes that is the truth. 
CCD: Some people allege that there are no penalties for those who are found to have committed fraud? What’s your take on this?
YA: That is not true. At least I know of a recent case in Sokoto where people were sacked for fraud related cases, the same for Gusau. We have just concluded the investigation into a fraud case that was reported in November.
These cases are reported either by outsiders or staff. When we get such reports, there are so many strategies that we adopt in investigating them. Our job is similar to that of a police officer, we are not expected to discuss our strategies so that people would not devise a way to circumvent it.  The unit is composed of people with varied knowledge on different aspects of the company’s business and can carry out a thorough investigation. The only constraint to completing an investigation within record time is the mobility issue I mentioned earlier.

CCD: If you are not working as an Auditor how do you relax?
YA: I listen to a lot of jazz music. I read a lot and sometimes I play Badminton in the office or outside the office. I have a Badminton court in my house so most of the time I play it with my kids.

Thursday, 1 February 2018


Communities Have Role To Play In Stopping Vandalism

CCD: Isma'il Hamza Ishaq as the Security and Administration Officer, Zaria Area Office, tell us what your responsibilities are.
IH: My responsibilities encompass the Security and administrative need for the Area Office. The security aspect has to do with ensuring the safety of lives and assets of the company, which include our Networks, Injection Substations, Vehicles, Transformers, Facilities and many more. It also involves ensuring that work place is safe enough for staff to work. 

CCD: How well would you say you have fared in your role as the Security & Admin Officer?  
IH: Very well. Until recently, we had had increased cases of vandalism, the highest cases happening around June to September last year. Within this period, our transformers, cables, transformer oil were vandalized almost every day. Other equipment destroyed were poles, aluminum wire conductors were cut too.
 In response, we have embarked on community engagement and public enlightenment through community leaders, stakeholders, Police, and vigilante groups in order to increase awareness on the importance of protecting our installations. 
We have been able to make them understand that it is a collective effort of the company and the customers stressing that the customers are usually the ones to bear the brunt. Even in cases where the equipment will be replaced, the communities would have to suffer for an unknown period of time because of the process involved in the procurement of the stolen/damaged item.

CCD: Having done this job for some time, what would you attribute to the increased spate of vandalism?
IH: Poverty is number one while the second is the lackadaisical attitude of the communities involved. When the people do not show interest in the installations within their community anybody can come from anywhere to destroy it.
There was an incident that the vandals came from Funtua, Katsina State and vandalized our property in Zaria; the question is: why didn't they do it in their area? The answer to that question is: because the people in Zaria were relaxed, they have not shown commitment to the protection of the installations.
However, for now, because of the awareness we have created, there has been a significant drop in cases of vandalism, compared to, say around September last year. From October till date, we have only recorded two cases. We commend the communities for this achievement. We are hoping for eradication of this menace. 

CCD: How much have you involved security agencies/stakeholders in the fight against vandalism?
IH: Yes, we have involved stakeholders like Hakimis, Sarkis or Mai Unguwas. We have very good relationship with them and usually have meetings with them when faced with security issues.
We also liaise with Local Government Chairmen and Councilors, to discuss issues bordering on the protection of the company's installation. We always advise people living in the communities to report any suspicious person to the security agency or call the attention of any of our staff. 
One of our colleagues from Babban Dodo Service Centre, with help of the community and some Policemen caught a suspected vandal. 
The suspected was paraded round the community in order to erase the erroneous impression that such dastardly acts are perpetuated by staff of Kaduna Electric. The suspect was charged to court and subsequently sentenced to six years in prison; the person that bought the item was equally sentenced. This incident has sent a strong warning to the general public thereby reducing the incidence of vandalism.

CCD: Aside from vandalism, what else would you say is a major obstacle to carrying out your duties?
IH: One of our major challenges is full funding. There is hardly anything we have to do that money is not involved. If we have a job to do in a faraway location like Saminaka, you need a full fuel tank and security escort, which might not always be available.
Another challenge is response from the community. We expect a quick response from the community should there be any suspicious movements around areas where we have our installations, it is expected that they will contact us quickly so that we can swing into action but this is not the case.