The pioneer chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Ransome Owan, yesterday opened up on why there is no sufficient electricity supply from the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).
According to him, there is no adequate power supply owing to consumers’ inability to pay for it.
He said: “The reason why you don’t have power now is the inability to pay for it.”
Owan who is also the Group Managing Director, Aiteo Power Infrastructure added that “the same tariff we pay today is the tariff we paid three years ago.”
He explained that the federal government which holds 40% equity in the DisCo has capped the rate in the last three years while the investors have refused to embark on further capital expenditure.
Owan said “The reason that government interferes is because it has a hand in that business. Remember that in the DisCos government is the largest shareholder. Two, the 40% holder says “I will no longer invest one penny in the business.”
He spoke at the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) workshop for energy correspondents in Abuja. The theme of the workshop was “Deepening the reportage of the NESI for effective customer education.”
He noted that in four years after the privatisation of the power firms some of the contracts that were entered into are not still adhered to.
Continuing, he submitted that “some of the DisCos are not bankable. The banks are saying they are yet to repay previous loans so there is no need for further exposure to the sector.”
Insisting that low revenue collection is accountable for the DisCos low investment in infrastructure, Owan said that “velocity of electricity must match revenue.”
“Collection losses is the problem. What has not changed is the people,” he said.
The former NERC boss noted that since the passage of the Power Sector Reform Act, successive governments have supported its regulation, which he described as a good signal to the development of the sector.
Asked whether he was suggesting that there should be tariff increase, he said that tariff increase is not the only answer to power sector challenges.
He said that since there is high refusal to pay for electricity in the country, the DisCos could improve their earnings through the efficiency of their operation.
The Managing Director, AEDC, Mr. Ernest Mupwaya, noted that the company is to introduce handed meters reading devices to help eliminate estimated bills.
According to him, the company has procured 120,000 meters while it has been installing 10,000 monthly which is bound to double next year.
Source: The Nation