Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Power firms: New investors complain of overwhelming problems

New power investors on Wednesday reeled out the challenges confronting
them since they took over the electricity generation and distribution
companies from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria on October
The private investors spoke at the first general meeting organised by
the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in Abuja, where they
described the problems in the sector as overwhelming.
They also denied claims that they fired about 50 per cent of the
workers inherited from the PHCN and insisted that the employees were
retrenched by the Bureau of Public Enterprises.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kano Distribution
Company, Dr. Jamili Gwamna, said power allocation to his DISCO had
been far below expectation, a development that had affected the firm's
revenue "drastically."
He said, "Our power allocation has been low in recent times. So, how
on earth will customers pay me and how will I pay money also? There
has not been power and when you threaten to disconnect consumers, they
tell you to hurry up with the disconnection process."
Gwamna stated that although it was not time for DISCOs to make returns
on investment, NERC should appreciate the enormity of the problems
that they met on ground.
The Director, Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Mrs. Funke
Osibodu, said, "There is so much confusion in the public and we need
to look at how to address this. For instance, the public believe that
they are not supposed to pay anything until January; that they
shouldn't be disconnected until then; and they believe they can come
and stand in front of you and collect prepaid meters just like that."
She decried the drop in power generation and stressed that consumers
had always blamed the DISCOs for poor electricity supply.
According to her, the power system comprises generation, transmission
and distribution companies, but many electricity consumers do not
understand this.
She added, "Anything that happens anywhere, even if it is not your
concern, it will be assumed that it is your doing. So, the public
believes that the lack of power is because the new owners in
distribution companies don't know what they are doing.
"But in reality, it is a GENCO problem as a result of gas shortage. At
one point, we were about to go on air to make people know the true
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Geregu Power Plc, Mr.
Adeyemi Adenuga, said he was not happy with the way the system
operator in the sector was going about its activities.
He said, "The SO that is supposed to know that capacity declaration is
what they should use to measure capacity continues to use another
thing outside what is in the Multi Year Tariff Order 2 agreement and
outside the interim rules that have been provided.
"We are not happy and I think that the regulator, apart from coming up
with all these beautiful rules, should make sure that the people who
are there are actually keeping to these issues."
A representative of the Ikeja DISCO lamented the manner in which
officials of the firm had been attacked by angry consumers, who were
wrongly informed on the interim operational period for the
distribution firms.
The representative, who didn't disclose his name, said, "Seriously,
people have been attacked and manhandled as they go about their
rightful duties. So, there is a need for people to be rightly informed
because they believe that they are not meant to pay any bill for three
The Chairman, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, said the meeting was called because
the regulator needed to know the problems of the operators in order to
craft interventions that were necessary.
"They are raising intimate issues and these issues need adequate
attention," he said.
Copyright PUNCH.

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