The Association of Nigerian electricity distributors (ANED) Director of Research and Advocacy, Bar. Sunday Oduntan Wednesday called on the Federal Government to save the DisCos from the hands of black marketers of foreign exchange (forex).
He urged the government to direct the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to give priority to the power sector operators in order to save them from purchasing dollars from the black market.
His words: “we have been calling on the Federal Government to get the CBN to give us priority, so that we don’t have to go to the black market to buy dollar. So the one that is going on now, is beneficial to us. If dollar improves against the dollar it will benefit the DISCO’s”
Citing an example with metering, Oduntan said that “we have about 2.9m customers yet to be metered ,and if you look at the amount of money required to do that even at the minimum of N53,000 per meter , it can be more than that now because of forex issue. If forex goes down it can still go below that 53,000 that means we need billions of naira to take care of that”.
According to him, the government needs to do more to fix the power sector as that is the only way to fix the economic situation of the country.
Oduntan blamed the constant power outage on transmission bottleneck, noting that areas like Apo, Central Area, Katampe and Gwagwalada are experiencing power outage, owing to defective facilities of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
Oduntan, however said that instead of simply blaming the situation on the TCN, he would rather urge the Federal Government to strengthen it for efficiency through sufficient investment.
According to him, the Federal Government needs to urgently and critically support the entire value chain, in order to make the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) profitable or commercially viable.
He said “N701 billion intervention fund is a good start but without a holistic resolution and details of how the intervention will work, we will not make progress, that is our reaction to that intervention. There must be a holistic resolution for the whole value chain from the upstream to downstream.so that for me in the downstream side of the sector, if I am buying a product at the rate of N68 and I am only allowed to sell it for N31.50,there is no way it can be commercially viable”. He added that the support needs to go down not just the GenCos.
He appealed to the general public to pay their bills, adding that electricity theft has remained one of the factors weighing down the efforts of the DisCos adding that the association appeals to the National Assembly to consider passing an anti-electricity theft bill, and create mobile courts to formally prosecute energy thieves.
He called on the key players in the energy sector, to adopt “SCADA” a technology which according to him, can help monitor the activities of power facilities nationwide.
Source: The Nation