By Adeogun Yemi
THE Power Distribution Companies (DisCos) are to blame for poor electricity supply, Minister of Power Saleh Mamman, said on Wednesday.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) will now decide the fate of the DisCos, after reviewing the memo on their performance.
Their licences may be under revocation threat, as indicated by Mamman.
Power supply has failed to improve in the country in spite of the promise by successive governments since 1999 and the privatization of the sector in 2013.
The minister said DisCos have failed to meet up with their obligations while the government is no longer willing to continue subsidising them.
There are 10 DisCos. These are: Ikeja Electric, Benin DisCo, Abuja DisCo, Kano DisCo, Port Harcourt DisCo, Ibadan DisCo, Enugu DisCo, Eko DisCo, Jos DisCo, and Kaduna DisCo.
The 11th, Yola DisCo, is now in the hands of government.
To reduce the influence of the DisCos, the minister said the government had “signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the German government and Siemens. They are to align between distribution, transmission and generation so that if we generate 13,000 megawatts, transmission will take the whole 13,000 and will distribute same. That way, Nigerians will be happy and everyone will have 24/7 electricity supply.”
The minister added: “The DisCos are manning the distribution that is why I have submitted my observations to the government. It is left for the government to decide. We just have to sit and see whether they are capable, have the technical know-how because most of the problems we are having today is technical and commercial losses.
“They will give you electricity and may not collect your money or they will collect the money and pocket, or they may send electricity and you may not have good sub-station that may collect this power and distribute to customers. This has been our major problem and it is the responsibility of the DisCos to take care of that end”.
Mamman said: “Government cannot continue subsiding because what they (DisCos) are doing is that they collect 3,000 megawatts and pay for only 1,000 megawatts, that is 15 per cent of what they are collecting, so government is the one completing the payment. We cannot continue like that.
“If they are ready to continue, fine but if they are not ready to continue maybe they should give way to whoever that is ready to come and invest. We are asking the government to review and see if they are capable, but if they are not capable, they should give way.
“Most of the problems we are facing in this country that we cannot get electricity supplied adequately and efficiently is because we have a problem in distribution. Generation, no more problem. We can generate up to 13,000 megawatts, but the transmission, those who are taking the electricity supply can only take 7,000 megawatts, even at that they are not taking the whole 7,000 megawatts but only 4,500 megawatts and then send to distribution. The distribution in turn receives only 3,000 megawatts. Because of technical and commercial reasons, they cannot contain the entire power that has been generated.
“So, we have to correct the infrastructure. That is why I said that today, I submitted my observation to council and I believe the government is on it.
On the financial interventions the government had made so far in the power sector, Mamman said: “If they are ready to continue, fine, but if they are not ready to continue maybe they should give way to whoever is ready to come and invest.
“We are asking government to review and see if they are capable but if they are not capable they should give way.’’