Nigeria’s Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) are not having the best of time with a huge collective loss of N300 billion since the government privatised the sector.
This is in the midst of other challenges that have marred effective power supply to residents and manufacturing industries in the country.
Electricity supply is very unstable in Nigeria - and electricity bills are still quite high.
Electricity supply is very unstable in Nigeria – and electricity bills are still quite high.
Currently, Nigeria battles with less than 3,500 megawatts with consumers crying over a continuous increase in electricity bills while they leave in darkness.
The companies, while appealing to all power consumers, including government agencies, to pay their debts as soon as possible, also appealed for patience.
The executive director of Association of Nigeria Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Oduntan, said this was the challenge being faced by members of the body when he was speaking in Lagos on Wednesday.
Speaking on behalf of the association, Oduntan said that the revenue shortfall had seriously affected the ability of the discos to make capital investment in the area of metering, network expansion, equipment rehabilitation and replacement critical to improvement in service delivery.
He said: “This is a cash crisis that threatens to completely undermine the electricity value chain and ability to continue to serve consumers.
“MDAs (ministry, department and agency) debts plus interest now stands at N93 billion. The power industry cannot survive with this mounting debt in addition to the dearth of foreign exchange,’’ he said.
The executive director said that shortage of foreign exchange was also contributing negatively to aggregate industry performance.
“The ability of the industry to meet its service delivery obligation is severely constrained by lack of access to foreign exchange.”
According to Oduntan, vandalism also affected the supply of gas and this has led to a massive drop in power generation.
“Shortage of gas leads to low power generation. Low generation and poor transmission facilities lead to low distribution.
“Therefore, the discos should not be blamed for poor power supply because we cannot give what we don’t have,” he said.
“Only 25 per cent of the total collections belongs to the discos, but when the customers don’t pay, the whole sector is affected,” he said adding that after the privatisation of the sector, metering gap had reduced drastically.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), two weeks ago, warned that it would sanction DISCOs who are found to be extorting money from consumers to supply transformers and other distribution accessories.
Acting Chairman of the Commission, Dr Anthony Akah handed down the warning during the commissioning of Ebonyi State Consumer Complaints Forum Office in Abakaliki.
According to him, it was a criminal offense for DISCOs to charge money to replace transformers and other power distribution accessories.