From Uche Usim and Nsisong Morgan, Abuja
Eleven electricity distribution companies on the platform of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) yesterday disclosed that they have reduced customers’ metering gap to 2.2 million from the five million they inherited since the power sector was privatised in 2013.
ANED’s Director of Advocacy and Research, Sunday Olurotimi Oduntan disclosed this in Abuja at a workshop for energy journalists.
Oduntan, who spoke on the impact of privatisation on the power sector, said the recent approval by the Federal Government to pay the N2.6 billion electricity supply debts owed by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), was a good development but stated that the money was not coming to the Discos.
He said the money would be used by the government to offset part of their N500 billion energy debt with the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET).
He said: “That money is going to NBET to help pay part of our debts,” adding that it may not trigger any immediate investment.
On load rejection, the spokesman for the 11 Discos’ group said the Discos actually reject electricity sent to them for their customers because the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) dump the energy where it may not be commercially viable to the Discos.
“It is true that we sometimes reject load, but it is not often, and it is because TCN gives us electricity where it is not commercially viable,” Oduntan added.
He said the firms took business decision to give more supply to places where the customers pay bills promptly and record low cases of energy theft to recoup the cost of energy production and distribution in the electricity value chain.
He urged the Federal Government to take a bold step to really ensure that the power sector is fully privatised for improved efficiency.
On the theme of the workshop, “Challenges of the Nigerian Power Sector”, he called for an independent framework for Discos.
He further urged the Federal Government to work hard in providing a friendly-business environment for foreign investors, noting that it would stimulate opportunities for job creation.
Oduntan maintained that electricity plays a vital role in boosting the economy of the country.
He commended the bidding process of the last privatisation in 2013, but noted that the previous governments did not do much to give Nigerians power.
“Objectively, I will say the current government is doing more than the last governments to improve the power sector,” he noted.