Stakeholders in the power sector of the country, have stated reasons why there is still epileptic power supply, adding that there is no possibility of having a stable power in the next few years.
Speaking at the Electricity Consumers Protection Forum, in Ogba, Lagos State, the National Coordinator, Distribution Companies (Discos), Barrister Sunday Oduntan, said the inefficiency of the distribution companies might affect stability of power.
“I stand before God and with my hands on my heart, I cannot lie to you that Nigeria will still have epileptic power supply for the next five years, if the necessary things are not done
“We Discos are very inefficient. And yet, Nigerians celebrate this that do wrong to us, and if we keep doing the wrong thing, and we expect changes, it is not possible” he said.
Barrister Oduntan, also cited the importance of every household to have metres.
He said, “it is important for every household to have metres, either it is pre-paid or post-paid metres, but it is necessary for every house to have it. However, the minister is not here, I would have let him know and the NERC too, I always talk in front of people that are involved, I won’t say it at their back”
He also called on everyone to foster a course to achieve the goal of having a stable electricity.
“No explanation on the matter of metres, as it is now declared as property of the government, which is not supposed to be. The issue of electricity is a collective fight, not just for me to decide but all of us have stake to achieve this, it is not just the GENCos, DISCos, or NERC, let us come together for this course”
In her own remarks, the Executive Secretary, Generation Companies, GENCos, Dr (Mrs) Joy Ogaji, said the reason why there seems not to be stable power supply is lack of capacity to distribute it accordingly.
She said, “there are 27 power stations over the country, three are powered on hydro-electric and others are on gas. The capacity being generated is 7,000MW and sometimes 8,000W.
“But there is no capacity to generate more than 8,000MW and this is because there is no network”
She also cited issues facing the power sector as lack of coordination, experience and knowledgeable leaders in the power sector.
In his submission, Dr Yemi Oke, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, said there are rights bequeathed to the consumers of powers and what they need to do.
The professor of electricity law said, “all consumers have the right to properly installed metres, right to spend electricity bilings, right to complain on over-billings, and to contest any billings that are not appropriate,
“consumers have the right to pay bills for electricity consumed and the right to report any metre bye-pass and other illegal activities” he said.
Prof Oke, also chastised the stakeholders of power of promising to do what they cannot do, with the contract signed on behalf of Nigerians.
“They bought it (PHCN) it at N160 per dollars, but now it is N365 per dollars, so anything GENCos is doing now will be done with the current dollar rate, and of course it is not subsidised, and we cannot have adequacy of gas for electricity consumption.
“The DISCos and GENCos are not making money, I can be quoted and this is because the work is financially constrained, the government are not helping matters at all, but it is a collective effort for all of us to do” he quipped.
He also gave alternatives whereby electricity can be generated without relying much on gas, he cited the use of water (hydro), wind, landfill (biomax) and solar.
However, in her own contribution, the Consumer’s Advocate, Mrs Sola Salako-Ajulo urged Nigerians to be more proactive and make sure they do the needful regarding the electricity issue.
She said the government needs to stop exploiting consumers of uneccessary billings.
“The first step is to first exploiting consumers, whatever to be told is needed here. First, when they’re into their privatisation process, none of them involved the consumers in the process, either the GENCos, DISCos and the government
“But as a representative of the consumer. I am here to speak the truth, and we are here to play our part to end this problem and I have discussed this with them, we need to stop illegal extortion, the power we are not consuming, we are paying for it, so therefore, we cannot listen to you or you want me to believe that despite all the money you collect from me illegally are not enough to pay for this project.
“They said they have invested money and they are losing money, meaning they are not making money, so what do they want to do?” she queried.
She also gave possible solutions to end the billings which has become a load on the distribution companies.
“Let the GENCos, DISCos and the consumers share the cost of debts in a 50-50 manner to pay up the backlog of debts. If they are willing to do that, we can go with that because consumers that I know will come forward to pay it and it will help in reducing their liquidity, and also reduce debts on side of the government”
The national coordinator of the forum, Adeola Samuel – Ilori, in his address, queried reason why the expected stakeholders did not show up even after two months of notice to the program. He also called the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, a toothless bulldog for its failure to put things in shape that will affect the lives of Nigerians positively.
“This inactive nature of the regulatory body led to consumers’ actions in protests, rally and public disorder expressed against the DISCos. And sometimes disruption of their services if need arises to stem the DISCos nefarious activities noted”