Power Supply: TCN, Experts Ask FG To Recapitalise DISCOs

Senate Passes Power Sector Reform Act Amendment Bill

 

There is an urgent need for the Federal Government to recapitalise the 11 existing Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) across the country.

This was part of the recommendations made by the Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Usman Mohammed, and some experts at an event on Friday in Kaduna State.

They also asked the government to effectively fund the transmission network, in order for Nigeria to overcome the challenges of epileptic power supply.

The recommendations were made at a national discourse on addressing the power sector reforms organised by the Kaduna Polytechnic.

Experts suggested that the 40 per cent shares held by the Federal Government in the DISCOs be divested and sold to investors with technical competence.

According to them, there is a need to ensure that only capable hands drive the sector since the Federal Government cannot sustainably fund power supply.

In his remarks, the TCN boss faulted the privatisation process of the distribution companies in 2013 which led to the mismanagement of electricity distribution in the country.

He insisted that it would be more beneficial to Nigeria and the power sector if the distribution companies were recapitalised to enable competent hands to come in.

A former Director-General of Energy Commission of Nigeria, Professor Abubakar Sambo, also presented a paper on the way forward for the nation’s power sector.

He noted that although the power sector reforms have not led to significant improvement of electricity supply, there was a need to increase the electricity supply base.

Professor Sambo also called for the setting up of more generating companies, adding that more associated evaluating plants should be built with special purpose vehicles.

He stressed the need for the government to review licenses of distribution companies, entrench energy efficiency and conservation, remove obstacles to private sector investment, and enhance transmission network among other recommendations as the way forward.

Earlier, the convener of the event and Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic, Professor Idris Bugaje, opened the floor for discussion.

He decried the long years of neglect of the power sector and highlighted what government should urgently do if it must achieve the goal of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations by providing all citizens access to electricity by the year 2030.

Delivering his keynote address, the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, acknowledged that power reform, although well-intentioned, has not made the expected impact largely due to severe structural deficits in both transmission and distribution.

He, however, revealed that the Federal Government has developed five key focal areas to effectively tackle the challenges.

Experts who spoke to reporters on the sideline of the event called for diversification of the power generation from gas and hydro sources into others such as coal, solar, and wind.

Senate To Investigate Gencos, Discos Over Unsteady Power Supply

 

The Senate has mandated its Committee on Power to investigate the activities of power generating and distribution companies with the aim of unraveling the causes of unsteady power supply in Nigeria. 

The resolution of the Senate followed the consideration of a motion moved by Senator Chukwuka Utazi, who lamented that power generating or installed capacity of Nigeria in relation to its population and Gross Domestic Product cannot ensure that Nigeria competes favourably in terms of development with other nations.

The lawmaker while expressing optimism that Nigeria can set a realisable target of generating a capacity of 100,000 megawatts in the next 10 years, said this target can be achieved through a mix of energy sources such as natural gas, hydro, coal, wind and renewable energy.

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He added that beyond generation and transmission, Distribution Companies lack the financial and technical capacities required, thereby resulting in their inability to pay for power which Generation Companies (GenCos) deliver to the grid.

The Senate urged the Federal Government to upgrade the transmission infrastructure of Nigeria’s power grid for more efficient transmission of power.

While advocating for 100,000 megawatts installed capacity to match the size of Nigeria’s economy and population, the upper chamber urged the Federal Government to break-up the country’s power distribution companies into smaller, more manageable distribution companies for optimal performance.

Ikeja, Abuja, Six Other DisCos Risk License Cancellation, Says NERC

 

The licenses of eight power distribution companies may be canceled for breaching section 74 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA).

According to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the power distribution firms include Ikeja, Abuja, Benin, and Enugu Discos.

Others are Kaduna, Kano, Port Harcourt, and Yola Discos.

NERC an eight-page notice described the actions of the DisCos as “manifest and flagrant breaches” and they have 60 days to explain why their licenses should not be canceled.

“The Commission considers the actions of the aforementioned DisCos as “manifest and flagrant breaches” of EPSRA, terms, and conditions of their respective distribution licenses and the Order; and therefore requires each of them show cause in writing within 60 days from the date of receipt of this Notice as to why their licenses should not be canceled in accordance with section 74 of EPSRA.”

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The commission also insisted that DisCos with an excess of tariff shortfall over market shortfall shall be compensated accordingly for the difference, but all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies should also be metered within 60 days.

“The Order reiterated that the responsibility and initiative for revenue collections from all customers including Ministries, Departments and Agencies (“MDAs”) of States and Federal Government rest with the DisCos.

“Accordingly, this order made it mandatory for all DisCos to meter all MDAs with appropriate meters of their choice within 60 days from the effective date of this Order.

“All DisCos reserve the right to disconnect any MDAs defaulting in the payment for electricity in line with the Regulation on Connection and Disconnection Procedures for Electricity Services,” it added.

Compete To Deliver Or Exit, FG Warns Electricity Distribution Companies

Compete To Deliver Or Exit, FG Warns Electricity Distribution Companies
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (file)

 

The Federal Government has read the riot act to the Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) operating in Nigeria.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, warned them to be efficient in their service delivery to Nigerians.

He said the companies were aware of the challenges in the power sector, noting that the government would no longer tolerate the issues of estimated billing and mass disconnection of consumers.

“The DISCOs bought these assets with their eyes wide open and they must compete to deliver or exit,” said Fashola.

He added, “In the face of this picture where we have power to sell with more to come, the number of complaints coming to government for meter which DISCOs should supply, and for estimated billings and mass disconnection where not everybody is owing cannot continue. Government must act and will do so.”

The minister decried that investment of the generating companies is threatened because the capacity of electricity being generated is under-utilised.

According to him, small business owners who need very little power are not getting enough because the DISCOs cannot make the power available to them.

Fashola informed reporters at the briefing that the government effort to improve the sector is yielding positive results as power generation is increasing by an average of 1,000MW annually.

He, however, insisted that government would not allow any distribution company to frustrate its efforts towards providing a stable power supply for the citizenry.

The minister revealed, “I can report progress in generation, transmission, and distribution post-privatisation.

“The generation of power has improved from approximately 4,000MW in 2015 to approximately 7,000MW in 2018, averaging an increase of about 1,000MW per annum.”

FG Approves Payment Of N25.9bn to Discos

The Federal Executive Council has approved the payment of N25.99 billion to electricity distribution companies in the country as party of the power sector recovery programme.

The amount is part of the N67.41 billion the discos said they were being owed by the government – ministries, departments, and agencies.

After verification, the Federal Government said it, however, discovered that part of the amount was owed by states, local governments, and corporate entities.

More to follow…

Electricity Distributors Blame TCN For Power Outages  

The association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors has blamed power outages in the country on the weak transmission infrastructure of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

The Electricity distribution companies under the aegis of Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) in a statement on Sunday said it is wrong for TCN to classify natural drop in electricity demands at nights as a rejection of supply by the distribution firms.

Distribution stress test reports of most discos show an average station capacity utilisation of less than 50 percent due to TCN’s infrastructure limitations.

The distributors, however, believe that system operators of discos misinterpreted the minimum and maximum load readings which describe low demands during off-peak hours as load rejection by discos.

FG To Sanction DISCOs For Flouting Metering Mandate

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has mandated the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to sanction any DISCO that fails to meet up with its metering commitment.

Speaking at the 16th monthly meeting of operators in the electricity industry, at the Ugwuaji 330/132 Kv Transmission Station, Enugu State, Mr Fashola said the Federal Government has zero tolerance for DISCOs who extort customers and sabotage the effort of the government in fighting corruption in all sectors.

“NERC as the regulator has been mandated to ensure that DISCOs implement the commitment they made to this meeting that they will meet a certain minimum threshold of metering. NERC should hold them accountable and sanction those who have not met the threshold.”

Mr Fashola further stated that he has gotten a lot of complaints about some DISCOs disconnecting those who have prepaid meters.

“For now I will keep the names of those DISCOs out of the media but next month if nothing is done by those DISCOs to address these issues I will publish their names.”

He also noted that the Federal Government is progressing in its road map to increase power across the country and appealed to the public to extend the Whistle Blowing Policy to power theft.

Fashola Accuses Discos Of Frustrating Govt’s Power Plan

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has accused distribution companies of frustrating government efforts towards regular power supply in Nigeria.

At a meeting in Jos the Plateau State capital, the minister said he is disappointed with the conducts of the discos, accusing them of concealing relevant information to the public on what government is doing to resolve the problems of electricity supply.

“I regret to announce that at best, this objective is not fully achieved or at worst is being frustrated by the distribution companies who have formed themselves into an association of distribution companies and have persistently issued statements on issues they either did not present for discussion at these meetings or which contradicts the communique that is jointly agreed and released after each meeting.”

The issue of EXCO accounts also attracted the attention of the minister as it relates to the condition of accessing the loan by the distribution company.

“As far as the regulation on your procurement is concerned, what the public needs to know, which your statement is silent on, is that you are entitled to fully recover your cost and investment by law and this is the function of how tariffs are also calculated. So if you make investments, they are passed through to consumers.

“Therefore, if government holds 40% of the shares of discos on behalf of the state and local government, and the Nigerian people, I believe that it has the duty to ensure that you buy your parts and your equipment at reasonable and competitive market prices and not through inflated contracts to relatives as we have seen in some discos.”

Meter Testing: NEMSA Goes Tough On Discos Over Failure

NEMSA, DISCOs, MeterThe Nigerian Electricity Management Service Agency (NEMSA) says the maximum failure rate it would allow in the testing and certification of meters for use by Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) would be 7.5%.

NEMSA stated that if the failure rates of meters, which the 11 DISCOs brought to its testing station were above that level, it would condemn the quantities of such meters and subsequently ban it from being deployed to homes and offices.

The Managing Director of NEMSA, Mr Peter Ewesor, issued the warning on Wednesday during a press briefing in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Mr Ewesor stressed that the briefing was organised to sensitise electricity consumers in Nigeria on the standard expectations from the meters that DISCOs install in their homes and offices.

He explained that it was the job of the DISCOs to provide meters to their customers while consumers were to verify the authenticity and working conditions of meters supplied and installed.

The NEMSA boss noted that undertaking such task would ensure that consumers do not lose money from incorrect meter readings and energy losses.

Fashola Attributes Drop In Electricity Supply To Attacks On Gas Pipelines

Babatunde Fashola, Power, Oil installationsThe Minister of Power, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has attributed the drop in electricity supply from 5000 MW to 2000MW since February 2016, to incessant attacks on gas pipelines by vandals.

He said this while delivering a key note address he delivered at the second edition of the National Council on Power (NCP) Stakeholders meeting in Kaduna State.

Speaking on how to address the current poor electricity supply across the country, Mr Fashola advocated alternative power sources such as solar, wind energy, coal to complement existing hydro and gas.

On his part, the host governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai asked the Federal government to retain the transmission sector and privatise the DISCOs and GENCOs.

The governor also advocated the restructuring of the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in order to make it more proactive and effective.

In doing this, he stated that competent and experienced experts should be engaged to man the regulatory agency.

He specifically urged the Ministry of Power and other stakeholders to consider solar energy since it is cheaper and efficient, adding that Nigeria is blessed with abundant sun which could transformed into solar energy.

The 2nd edition of the National Council on Power stakeholders meeting had the theme “Achieving Incremental, Then Uninterrupted Power” was organized by the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.

The NCP stakeholders meeting provides a platform for the ministry to interact with all stakeholders in the power sector in order to provide a road map to address the challenges in the sector.

Patronise Local Meter Makers, Fashola Tells Electricity Companies

Electricity-meterNigeria’s Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr, Babatunde Fashola, has urged electricity distribution companies to patronise local meter manufacturers in the quest for mass metering system of their customers across.

At the 6th Power and Stakeholders Monthly Meeting held on Monday in Kano State, North West Nigeria, the Minister said the patronage of local manufacturers would help avoid foreign exchange problem associated with importation of meters.

Mr Fashola stressed that it would greatly save cost if made in Nigeria meters were patronised, pointing out that it is of same quality with the imported ones.

He believes that proper synergy between operators at the highest executive management levels, generating companies, distribution companies, transmission companies and various relevant government agencies would provide sustainable solution to the nation’s power problem.

On the low supply of power currently being witnessed across Nigeria, Fashola told reporters that the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers had dropped power generation from 5,000 to about 3,000 megawatts.

“As of today, Nigeria rely only on hydro power from Jabba and other formations whose gas is not totally out,” he said.

The militant group in Niger Delta region have claimed responsibility for most attacks on oil facilities in the region, crippling exploration activities.

The meeting agreed that in furtherance of aggressive metering plans, all distribution companies should embark on a sensitisation campaign to enable customers understand the need for metering system.

At the meeting were operators and stakeholders of the Nigeria’s electricity industry and it was chaired by Mr Fashola.

The monthly meeting according to the minister was initiated to identify, discuss and find practical solutions to issues facing the Nation’s power sector.

Presenting a communique at the end of the meeting, the Managing Director of the Kano Electricity Distribution Company, Mr Jamilu Gwamna, said the meeting acknowledged the need to put in place a more robust mechanism on information sharing between the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and generation and distribution companies as well as other stakeholders in the electricity industry.

US Partners DISCOs For Improved Electricity In Nigeria

ElectricityThe government of the United States of America has signed a memorandum of understanding with Nigeria’s government to improve electricity supply.

The partnership which is expected to inject nine million dollars annually into the sector is also expected to provide technical support to the distribution companies.

Representatives of electricity distribution companies, the Ministry of Power and the American government, all witnessed the signing of the agreement between the U.S government and electricity distribution companies.

The U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle said that the partnership is aimed at opening up business opportunities in Nigeria, as access to electricity would reduce the cost of doing business in the country.

Away from the business opportunities the partnership will provide, representatives of some electricity distribution companies at the event asked the U.S government to help build their capacity to distribute power and collect tariff from consumers.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, who was represented at the event by his SSA, Lanre Akinsola, said that government is making efforts to relieve the sector of its over-dependence on gas.

Electricity generation and distribution has dropped below 3,000 megawatts in recent times, causing perpetual darkness in some parts of the country.

Often, the Ministry of Power has blamed the sharp fall on acts of vandalism of gas pipelines and other installations across the country.