- The Guardian
The Senate Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation has expressed its desire to wade into the challenges leading to the shortfall of about N900 billion in the Nigerian power sector.
The committee is also working on a bill that would prescribe strict punishment for electricity thieves and vandals before the end of 2016.
According to the Senate, the bill will enable the law to crack down on those involved in stealing electricity and those defaulting on bill payments.
Meanwhile, the power sector needs monthly funding of N62 billion to cover liquidity crisis and provide regular electricity to consumers.
The Chairman, Senate Committee, on Privatisation and Commercialisation, Ben Bruce, while on an oversight visit to Eko Electricity Distribution Company yesterday in Lagos, lamented the liquidity challenges in the power sector.
He said that these issues needed the intervention of the government, operators and consumers.
Bruce, however, assured that the committee would also ensure the prompt payment of government Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) electricity outstanding debts of over N100 billion.
He said the Committee is aware of the expectations of Nigerians from the electricity companies as well as the challenges facing the sector.
The Senator said the Committee in its oversight visits has noticed the major problem confronting not just Eko disco but other discos are energy theft and vandalism of power equipment.
The Managing Director of Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), Oladele Amoda, speaking at the event said the company had spent N18.5 billion on the plant since privatisation, covering upgrade of electricity facilities, acquisition of new technologies, smart meters to enhance service delivery to the network.
Amoda emphasised the need for stringent punishment for electricity thieves and vandals.
He said, “Some people are deliberately stealing electricity through illegal connection and if the government can make it a criminal offence for anybody that cheats or steals electricity.”
The managing director also wants the government to provide a special foreign exchange intervention for the electricity distribution companies.