Association of Electricity Distribution Companies (ANED) while commending the recent Federal Government’s N701 billion intervention fund for the generating companies (GenCos), has advised that the intervention be extended to all three sectors in the value chain ifthe dream of incremental and stable power in the country is to be realised.
Speaking during an interactive section with newsmen in Abuja, the executive director of the association, Mr Sunday Oduntan however, described the intervention as a ‘drop in the ocean’, considering the enormity of the liquidity burden on the sector, and partial on grounds that “you cannot take care of the upstream and neglect the plight of the others in the value chain.”
Oduntan who commended in particular the Hon. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, SAN, for his dogged commitment to fixing the sector for the benefit of all Nigerians said his members (the DisCos) requested that the federal government urgently empower the entire value chain to make the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) commercially viable.
He said attention should not be shifted from the about N1 trillion shortfall already on ground, adding that timely management of that deficit is the best way to go for the industry to move forward.
He also cautioned that the N701 billion should not be put on the DisCos book like previous interventions such as that of the CBN whose burdens were placed on the subsector with which it is still grappling to pay, adding ‘We are already carrying more than enough of such burdens that are not wholly ours and can bear no more.
Mr Oduntan equally wants the federal government to increase its investment in the transmission company of Nigeria (TCN) and reorientate the “NEPA-converted staff of TCN to make them realise that the industry now has business at the centre of its operations, urging them to work as such.
TCN, the custodian of the national grid, is a government owned firm in the chain, sandwiched by the GenCos (upstream) and the DisCos (downstream).
While imploring customers nationwide pay their bills and stop stealing energy in the interest of improved supply, the ANED boss also requested that the National Assembly gives consideration to passing an anti-energy-theft legislation to be handled by mobile courts that would prosecute offenders publickly on the spot, thus serving as a deterrent to other intending energy cheats.
On the incessant power outages and load shedding, Oduntan, who attributes it to TCN’s under-capacity however, said TCN cannot be blamed because it can only work with the tool given to it by its owner (government).
“What we are saying is that TCN’s low capacity makes it difficult for it to evacuate and wheel enough power.
“There is serious capacity constraint and transmission bottlenecks all around the country because TCN is operating with dysfunctional and outdated infrastructure. We the DisCos cannot do our job effectively when TCN facilities are defective,” he said.