DisCos Not to Blame for Poor Power Supply


Recently in Kenya, there was a blackout for four  hours and its  people wondered what   happened.

Later, the power generating company KenGen issued a statement, blaming  a monkey which tripped on an equipment in an hydro power  plant for the problem.

The generation company (GenCo) said though the monkey survived, Kenya lost 183megawatts (Mw)  during  the blackout. It apologised to consumers, promising to secure its facilities from  such hazards in future.

I  can’t help admiring the way  the  firm handled the matter efficiently. Of  course most Nigerians will argue that the power supply in Kenya is not compared with  that of Nigeria because it is erratic here and blackouts are more.

I agree with them.  This is because  the Kenyan  power firm has been allowed to do its public relations without  any pressure and without  any  ‘monkey’ tricks  or  interference from any  quarters  on the source  of  power  failure.

In  Nigeria, however,  the way  blackouts  are  explained is different.The  culprits are  the distribution companies (Discos) that deliver electricity to our homes and companies.

This has been reinforced by the   hostile  attitude of the trade unions in the power sector in that they mobilised consumers against the discos. Take the case of when tariffs were approved for the discos by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commissionwere announced early  this year.

The unions instigated even  the Senate  to stop  the tariffs hike and  NERC went  to  court  to accuse the Senate of usurping  its  legitimate  function as the regulator  of electricity. The unions  did  not  stop there; they asked workers to go on strike on the new  electricity  tariffs as if it is  the same thing with the fuel price increase  to N145 on which  they called out workers on strike recently.

This  is  despite  that discos don’t  generate or transmit electricity,  but  only  deliver  to  consumers  when it is   is available.

Stakeholders in the electricity  industry include the Nigerian  Electricity Bulk  Trading  Company, gencos, discos  and transmission  companies. How come then that the union  leaders are always  pointing fingers at  the  discos when  there is a power  failure?  As  the  Kenyan  example  has  shown, it was  a genco  that explained  what  happened, not a disco.

In  Nigeria, it  is true that pipeline vandalism  has  reduced  the generation and transmission of electricity  not  to  talk of distribution, which is the responsibility  of the discos.  But,  then,  can  the  discos  distribute  what  they  don’t  have?

True, the gencos cannot generate power  when they don’t  have the  basic  ingredients to  do so and even  when  sources  of  such  generation  have  been rendered  unproductive  or inactive  by  vandals.  In  Kenya,  the  genco  was  lucky  that it was a  monkey that  cut  power  for hours  only.

It  is  an army  of vandals  that  are stalling electricity production daily    and  they have  even  metamorphosed into  a virile terrorist group  called  the Avengers  of the Niger  Delta  who  are daring   and taxing  the  federal    might.

That really is the core  of the matter  and  that  is what the unions should  focus on as the cause of irregular electricity supply.

Therefore,  the  discos,  which  are  at  the receiving end  of the poor electricity supply chain,  should  not  be blamed  by  the  unions.


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