Nigerians hoping for improved power supply with the privatisation of the sector might have had their hopes dashed as the power situation in the country has gone worse since the new owners took over.
Although, gas shortages, funding and confusion over the Multi-Year Tariff Order, MYTO measurement, among others have been identified as the issues resulting in the near collapse of power supply in the country, consumers believe such issues should have been addressed before the full handling over to private owners as they say consumers will now bear the brunt of it all, including having to pay outrageously to get power.
Director, Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Mrs. Funke Osibodu described the situation as chaotic.
Giving more insight into the challenges at the just concluded first general meeting organised by Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, in Abuja, Osibodu said: “There is so much confusion in the public, and we need to look at how to address this.
“For instance, the public believes they are not supposed to pay anything until January; that they should not be disconnected until then; and they believe they can come and stand in front of you and collect pre-paid meters just like that.”
But electricity consumers are impatient and want to see regular power rather than being bothered with the issues relating to power system operation from generation (GENCOs), transmission and distribution (DISCOs).
According to Osibodu, “anything that happens anywhere, even if it is not your concern, it is assumed that it is your doing.
“The public believes that the lack of power is because the new owners in distribution companies do not know what they are doing.
“But in reality, it is a GENCO problem as a result of gas shortage. At one point, we were about going on air to make people know the true position.”
She said that the public was expecting too much too soon from the new operators.
Also speaking, Dr. Jamili Gwamna, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Kano DISCO, disclosed that there had been a drop in power generation.
He said the amount of power allocated to his company was far below its capacity without giving details, adding that the development had reduced the DISCO’s revenue projections.
He lamented: “Our power allocation has been low in recent times. How on earth will customers pay me and how will I pay money also?
“There has not been power and when you threaten to disconnect consumers, they tell you to hurry up with the disconnection process.”
The challenge borders more on activities of the system operator, according to Mr. Adeyemi Adenuga, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Geregu Power Plc (GENCO).
He said: “The system operator that is supposed to know that capacity declaration is what they should use to measure capacity continues to use another thing outside what is in the Multi-Year-Tariff-Order 2, MYTO, agreement and outside the interim rules that have been provided.
“We are not happy and I think that the regulator, apart from coming up with all these beautiful rules, should make sure that the people who are there are actually keeping to these issues.”
Sam Amadi, Chairman, NERC, said the meeting was organised to hear out the operators and their challenges.
He promised that all the issues raised would be addressed by NERC.