Nigeria enforces metering commitments of Power Distribution Companies

Rafat Salami, Abuja

The Nigerian government has expressed commitment to self-sustaining power sector tariff and pledged to enforce metering commitments made by Distribution Companies (DISCOs).

The minister of Power, Housing and Transport Babatunde Raji Fashola made the pledges at the just concluded Power Sector Operators meeting which held in Oshogbo, the Osun state capital,  Southwest Nigeria.

The Minister who chaired the meeting “reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to its responsibilities in the sector, through policies such as the Power Sector Payment Assurance Guarantee to ensure liquidity stability in the sector so that generating companies are paid for their services”.

Fashola also challenged all stakeholders to  “remain committed to their various roles in supplying and distributing power to ensure that the power sector functioned effectively.”

He said where there are infractions from the electricity companies, “the regulator in this business is NERC will issue red cards, yellow cards and where it is necessary, award penalties”.

The Minister urged operators in the industry to play their roles, honestly, accountably and efficiently as Government was now determined to enforce the rules in the sector.

“Some of the things that happened since February, if we should and I will recap, is that the Regulatory Commission has been substantially reconstituted and they have briefed us now what they are doing. In terms of policy, Government has taken action to approve a Payment Assurance Guarantee that addresses the liquidity challenges in the sector”, the Minister said.

Speaking earlier, the Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria also restated the company’s commitment to expand transmission infrastructure and improve its operation and performance within the Power Sector value chain.

He also encouraged the industry to take necessary steps to address the problem of unutilised load currently causing high system frequency on the National Grid.

Power Generation

The meeting received confirmation from Independent System Operator (ISO) that the intention of Paras Energy (a private generating company) to sell 60MW internationally would not jeopardize the power purchased by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET) for use in the domestic market.

The meeting also received progress report from Transmission Company of Nigeria, that there was a 9 per cent improvement in energy it delivered to DISCOs from for the month of February, as compared to January.

TCN, which presented a brief on ongoing works to address specific challenges and limitations around the country, also acknowledged the delay in replacing the damaged 60MVA transformer at Katampe which caused prolonged load shedding and poor service in parts of Maitama, Wuse II and Jabi in Abuja while NERC reported on stakeholder performance for 2016.

The meeting also ranked DISCOs based on metering progress, NBET and Market Operator remittance, amongst other indicators. Eko DISCO was ranked as the best performing Distribution Company, while Kaduna DISCO was ranked as the lowest. Okpai (Thermal Plant) and Jebba (Hydro Plants) were ranked as the best performing in their respective categories, based on indicators such as percentage availability and reporting compliance.

On the payment of debts owed the DisCos by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Fashola said lately Government was not only verifying DISCO debts as reported consistently in the Meeting, but recently paid about N374,551,000 debt owed by the Federal Secretariat in Abuja to the Abuja DISCO as proof of its commitment to paying debts that it could verify.