Recent reports claims that the electricity generation companies (GenCos) are planning to disrupt power supply. This development is coming shortly after the GenCos had dragged the Federal Government to court over its regulations on Power Generation.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola confirmed the news, declaring that he already has a report to that effect. He stated that the purported industrial action by the GenCos was intentionally aimed at blackmailing the government and also to score political gains.
“Let me say it very clearly to some of these people that I get reports on some of the clandestine meetings they hold with the view to disrupt power supply for political capital. Whether the period when this sector is now making progress does not suggest an intention to blackmail government and to hold the citizens hostage?”
Fashola however promised to defend Federal Government’s position in the law court, where he has lived all his life.
The GenCos had previously sued the Federal Government on the grounds of discriminatory treatment against them and the gas suppliers, claiming that Azura Power Plant West Africa and Accugas Limited were receiving preferential treatments to the disadvantage of the entire power sector.
The Minister also stated that it was just barely a week that the power firms tabled their complaints to the ministry and dragged the government to the court and that was not sufficient for the government to look into their grievances and react.
He also tasked the plaintiff to be fair in good conscience as regards the issue. He noted that;
“I was their supporter then asking Nigerians to bear with the tariff. You must explain to the court of public opinion whether they went to court before this government approved for them the N701billion payment assurance guarantee which enables them to receive payment on their monthly power bills.
“When they are in that court, they must also tell the court that they are indebted to gas companies and to their banks because they were receiving less than 50 per cent of their bills. And in doing so, they must tell the court that they now receive 80 per cent of their bills from less than 50 per cent because the Buhari’s government intervened with the assurance guarantee.
“They must also tell the court when they get there or while they are there that unlike before when they were paid in naira, from money that was received from international customers. We sell power to Niger Republic, Chad, Niger and Togo, under an international arrangement. They must tell the court that they are now receiving payments in dollars instead of in naira, which used to be the case.
“They must also tell the court when they get there and also tell the court of public opinion that that there is a new GenCo getting paid 100 per cent while they are getting 80 per cent. And they must explain to the court that the reason is that that new GenCo has a partial risk guarantee in its contract and they do not. That was the contract they signed.”
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But he said the genesis of the hatred in the sector was the introduction of the mini-grid regulation that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) presented to the ministry last year making legal ways for competitive participation in power generation instead of the monopoly -like system that held the sector down for years.