As the nation’s power sector remains in crisis mode, the Presidency has met with electricity distribution companies in a bid to resolve some of the issues affecting the electricity supply industry, our correspondent has learnt. It was gathered that the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari, had a meeting with the Discos last week, before the presidential inauguration, and the previous week, with representatives of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc in attendance. The meetings were aimed at resolving the liquidity crisis in the sector and improving service delivery by the Discos. The meeting examined power distribution projects that the German government could help the Discos with.
More than five years after the privatization of the sector, the investors who took over the six generation companies and 11 Discos that emerged after the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria are still grappling with the old problems in the sector.The sector is plagued with problems of gas supply shortages, limited distribution networks, limited transmission line capacity, huge metering gap, electricity theft, and high technical and commercial losses, among others. Total power generation stood at 3337.2 megawatts as of 6.00am on Wednesday, down from 3,737.4MW on Tuesday, according to data from the Nigeria Electricity System Operator, an arm of the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
“The Chief of Staff to the President has met the Discos and they (government) are developing their own blueprint to solve the problem. They have met with us and have come up with some government-to-government arrangements whereby the government of Germany can help us, as distribution companies, in terms of providing equipment and the rest of them. We are waiting for how that will pan out,” an industry official told our correspondent on Wednesday. He added, “All I know is that the government is frustrated…I get a sense that a lot of people that did not buy these assets are stoking the fire for nationalization but common sense is beginning to prevail, that if the government takes back the assets, it will have to return the money the investors paid for the assets.” The official highlighted the need for a regular meeting of all the stakeholders – gas supplier, Gencos, Discos, NBET, TCN, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Power – to examine the issues in the sector.