DisCos ask for More Time to Improve

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Distribution  companies in the country, DISCOs, have asked for more time and patience from Nigerians to improve their electricity supply.
Their plea comes as power generation peaked at 3,848 megawatts, as Friday, up from the 2,884.30MW recorded last Tuesday, data from the Nigerian Systems Operations, NSO, a department of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, has shown. The World Bank in a report last week, cited inadequate power supply, corruption and lack of access to finance as the bane of the private sector. According to the World Bank, poor power supply has resulted in as high as 17-20 per cent losses in sales recorded by Nigerian firms. Commenting on the report, the General Manager, Public Affairs, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Mr. Godwin Idemudia, while agreeing with the report, requested that DISCOs should be given more time to improve.

He said: “I totally agree with the World Bank report on insufficient power facing the private sectors in Nigeria. As you are aware, Rome was not built in a day. “The electricity industry was abandoned for a long time. We really have to praise the private owners of the various companies in the electricity industry as at today (Discos and Gencos). “But for them, it could have been worse. They have sunk billions of naira in reviving the utility companies to the level we are today. In Eko Disco, we are doing a lot to boost supply to our esteem customers by partnering with IPPs for additional energy through embedded generation since what we get from the grid is inadequate to meet the demands of our customers. “What in my perspective that can be done to support the effort of those already in the business of electricity in Nigeria today, is to look into solar and coal source of energy to what are already in existence. “We have a lot of coal in the Eastern part of the country while solar and wind mill could be derived from the north. It costs money to achieve these laudable ventures if only the banks can assist the investors more with less interest rates. “To salvage the situation, Nigerians needs to give the present owners of the utilities more time as I strongly believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel very soon.

The World Bank report is in tandem with that of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, which said that irregular power supply is a major cause of the setback that Nigeria presently encounters. According to the Director, African Department of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, Ms. Antoinette Sayeh, said that irregular power supply is a major cause of the setback that Nigeria presently encounters. “Some countries want it yesterday. It is not just low income countries in the region, but across the board as we see now in also South Africa, struggling with the electricity problems as well. Nigeria is also very challenged on that account,” she said. Infrastructure  development Sayeh explained that countries should redouble their efforts to invest in infrastructure development. “But, of course, their ability to finance infrastructure is limited. In addition to public sector borrowing for infrastructure purposes, it is a huge need and countries are very interested in increasing their partnerships with the private sector through public-private partnerships to do better in terms of infrastructure financing and innovating with the capacity that private participants can bring to the table. “A number of things including, of course, generating more of their own revenue; entering into more partnerships with the private sector and those partnerships, of course, have benefits. But they also have risks that need to be properly managed; a regulatory framework that appropriately takes account of those risks; procurement practices that are amenable to making sure that the public sector gets the best out of this. Of course, the private sector gets the returns that they are looking for; and even beyond the immediate investments, of course, there are policy issues that countries also need to deal with,” she added

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