The Acting Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Dr. Vincent Akpotaire, has called on the management of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company to source for long-term funds from diverse sources in order to solve the metering challenge and improve tariff collection.
Akpotaire said this during the visit of the BPE’s monitoring team to the headquarters of IBEDC in Ibadan, adding that the company had contractual obligations to improve on electricity distribution in its coverage areas, while also assuring that the Federal Government was working hard on how to improve on power generation, which power distribution companies said was a major hindrance to their performance.
Akpotaire, who was in company with an assistant director at the BPE, Mrs. Adetutu Haastrup, and the bureau’s Director, Oil and Gas, Mr. Sunday Ikuerowo, said it was imperative that as contract managers, the bureau must try at all times to ensure that investors were made accountable for what they were contractually obligated to do.
He said, “We are here to monitor the performance of this company. As you know, 60 per cent of it has been sold to investors who have been managing it for the benefit of all Nigerians. At the point when they came in, they signed up to certain performance obligations to improve on power supply to Nigerians although that depends on the amount of power they receive from the national grid.
“We found out that there is room for improvement, because there are substantial gaps in the compliance areas. Some of the gaps are in the area of metering. They have given different explanations for not meeting up in this area. One of the explanations is the issue of tariff. The capital expenditure of the company is capped by National Electrical Research Development Council.
“My suggestion to the company is that in order to meet up, it needs to source for long-term funding from other sources, because the investment here is a lifetime one and you can afford to put in everything you have. If you don’t improve on your metering, you cannot improve tariff collection from customers.”
On the efforts being made to improve power generation, Akpotaire said the Federal Government was looking at alternative power plants to reduce the pressure on the national grid.
He explained, “Since this administration came on board, it has done a lot in the area of power generation. It is working hard to get the Mambila hydro plant on stream and to make the small hydro plants around all the dams we have functioning so as to encourage mini grids that will now enable the sector to free the national grid from some consumers and improve power supply.
“When some of the plants were designed, the technology available was different; but today, there is improved technology that can escalate their capacities. The experts are working on this. We, however, have to be certain that the power generated from those locations is within what the NERDC can approve for tariff, because if you generate at a higher cost than what the consumers can pay for, it will be useless.”