Good Day Nigerians,

Yesterday, 5th of December, 2019, we mentioned(in a tweet on our Social Media handle @PowerUpNG) the fact that Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company(@ibedc_ng) has been having problems paying staff salaries, noting as well that this is the second successive month that salaries are being paid late. November’s salaries are have just been paid.

This is not to pick on IBEDC. It is, IN FACT, a sad reflection of the whole Electricity Distribution Industry.

To be clear about this, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company(@OfficialPHEDC) has been paying 80%, depending on Collection performance, or less since August 2019. Abuja Electricity Distribution Company( @aedcelectricity) don’t even know when they are paying their staff, and Kaduna Electric (@KadunaDisco) have been forced to pay a percentage in September 2019. Things are so bad with Jos Electricity Distribution Company(@josdisco) that there was a buyover of the core investors, and no one heard a whiff of it.

These are the ones we can confirm. Some Discos have not even paid staff for a while. We are sure others will also have their stories.

Some industry players has confided in PowerUp Nigeria that this is as a direct result of NERC’s directive on 100% settlement of Market Operators Bill and stipulated minimum payment percentages for NBET bill.

Obviously NERC’s insistence on paying full compliance to the remittance order knowing full well and ignoring the circumstances around collection is mainly why discos are struggling to pay staff when due

Even the threat to withdraw Disco Licenses is predicated on full compliance with the 100% remittance, and NOT on any interest of the public.

The question that should concern everyone here is “How healthy is the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry?”

It is rather unfortunate. As it is said, “when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers”

When NERC and the Minister of Power continues to flex their muscles, and the continued ‘unstable’ policy atmosphere, EVERYONE SUFFERS, EVERYONE LOSES.

YES, the Privatization of the Power Sector was meant to improve service delivery and overall health of the sector, but the hesitant and tentative nature of Regulation application and enforcement is finally coming back to hunt the whole sector

For emphasis, the Discos remained the only point of entry for money into the power sector(at least until there is something concrete from the Eligible Customers Policy, or the recent Willing Seller Willing Buyer one), and IF the Discos are not healthy, then you can only imagine the impact on other arms of the power sector.

We are calling on the Nigerian Government, the Ministry of Power, under the leadership of the Minister of Power, Engr. Mamman Saleh, to HELP make Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission truly INDEPENDENT, and actually perform the work of Regulation.

The primary objective and focus of NERC should continue to be the good and balanced health of the Power Sector.

While it is a known fact that the Discos carry a big bulk of the problems, afterall, they are just business enterprises trying their best to make profit, the Regulators has made possible all manner of uncertainties in the industry.

Sound and Good policies benefit all the stakeholders than any fire brigade kneejack policies. There is no dearth of fantastic policies, but every time, NERC has found a way to bungle it.

The Power Sector will continue to bleed for as long as the Regulatory Commission remains directionless. Nigerians will continue to live without power supply, and employment and jobs creation will continue to bleed.

We cannot sound this warning enough.

Adetayo Adegbemle
for PowerUp Nigeria