Power Minister Tasks Discos On Aggressive Customers’ Metering

babatunde-fashola-power-works-and-housingNigeria’s Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has asked electricity distribution companies to improve customers experience by eliminating estimated billing by rolling out aggressively, smart meters.

The charge was read at a monthly meeting of all industry players held in Lagos.

Most Nigerian homes have not been issued the prepaid meter. Every month, they receive estimated bills that see them, most times, paying higher than what they consume.

“Without the customer and consumer there is no business and I think all of us in public and private sector must understand that.

“If you don’t have the skill and patience to serve, leave” he advised.

Among other resolutions reached at the meeting, which was the 11th in the series, was the need for all government agencies indebted to the Discos to pay up.

They also resolved to complete and submit all outstanding audited financial accounts of all operators before the next meeting in order to improve transparency within the sector.

To improve the power situation in Lagos State, however, Mr Fashola said that there were 14 projects for transmission, with one in the State capital, Ikeja, still undergoing expansion to respond to the growing population needs.

Nigeria requires over 100,000 megawatts of electricity but the nation is barely rationing less than 5,000 megawatts for a population of over 160 million people.

However, capacity lost to the blowing up of pipelines in the oil-rich nation’s south-south is 3,000 megawatts and if that is added to the current production, Nigeria will have at least 7,000 megawatts of electricity.

Industrialists have always identified lack of steady power as one major challenge in setting up a business in the nation with huge potential, considering its growing population.

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.

FG to appoint new power, defence ministers in two weeks

President Goodluck Jonathan said Wednesday  in Abuja he would forward names of replacements for ministers of defence and power immediately the Senate resumed from recess on September 22.

Jonathan made his intention known during the inauguration of two committees – the Presidential Action Committee on Power and the Presidential Taskforce on Power – saddled with the responsibility of improving power supply in the country.

“Definitely, immediately the National Assembly comes back, especially the Senate, we will clear the two vacancies (ministerial slots) that we have. They (the ministerial nominees) will get cleared and we will place people accordingly so that the Minister of Power will come up. But, in the interim, the Minister of State for Power is holding on to that,” he said.

Jonathan said with or without a Minister of Power, he decided to reconstitute the two teams because Nigerians would not be happy if the success so far recorded in power stability in the country relapsed.

“Whether the Minister of Power comes or not, we want to reconstitute the two teams because Nigerians will not be happy if we relapse and I believe that as we progress from now till December, if Nigerians can go home in December and do their parties without generators and can drive to their states without gutters on our roads stopping them, I think the rating of government will improve. So we must work hard to get to this level,” the President said.

While naming members of the two teams, Jonathan warned that he would not hesitate to sack whoever he discovered did not fit into the system.

He said, “We have done it (the reconstitution of the teams) this way because the other time when Nnaji was the Chairman, his Secretary was my SA, so there were a lot of conflicts between two of them because they say two captains cannot drive a ship.

“This time around, we just want one captain and others will work with him.

“When we look at the team, anybody that does not fit in, we will begin to weed off. The team is already working but we are only formalising it today so that everybody knows the leadership.

“If they continue to work very hard and when the minister joins them, I believe that we will continue to improve and Nigeria will know that we will not relapse.”