The Honorable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, today lashed out the Distribution Companies, who has been alleged not to have been supporting the Power Sector Reform.
This was expressed in a Press Briefing released and signed today 9th July, 2018, and made available to PowerUp Newsdesk.
In the briefing, the Honorable Minister laid the background of the ongoing Power Sector reform. While noting that Power Generation has improved from 4,000MW to 7,000MW, and the transmission capacity improved from 5,000MW to 7,124MW, Distribution Companies can only take off 5,000MW maximum due to constraints on their network.
The Minister further said “Interestingly no DISCO is buying power directly from the GENCO for reasons only known to them. They are content to allow the government bulk trader pay the GENCO for the power and receive it under the vesting contract which they are not properly performing because they remit only about 15% to 20% of the power they receive, and have accumulated debts of about N859 Billion (Principal and Interest) owed to NBET. I will also come back to these in the next steps and policy directives I will issue. Interestingly, the EPSRA does not make it mandatory for any Nigerian to receive power only from the DISCO or to use only public power.”
This has necessitaged the need to activate the Eligible Customer Regulations, which to Distribution Companies initially kicked again, but are now reluctantly supporting.
It is believed that those who falls within the Eligible Customer category will be able to invest in the National Grid structure, and be able to evacuate a minimum of 2MW daily.
Going by the provision of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005, the Minister said we cannot be moving from NEPA/PHCN Monopoly to DISCO Monopoly, as the law also recognizes other means of Power Distribution.
The Minister says Government must act, and will do so. The DISCOs bought these assets with their eyes opened, and they must compete to deliver or exit.
Small businesses who need very little power are not getting enough because the DISCOs cannot take the power to them.
The investment of GENCOs is threatened because they cannot utilize the capacity they have installed.
For now, our developmental needs cannot wait for businessmen who are not yet ready to serve.
National interest, public good, the need to support small business, provide access to power for ordinary people and increase productivity inform the policy statements 1, 2, and 3, that I have made above; and I expect NERC to act with dispatch.