NERC urged to stop Discos from threatening Private Entrepreneurs
Posted by Editor | 3 years ago | 11
Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, work and housing wants the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to stop electricity distribution companies from preventing private entrepreneurs from supplying electricity to consumers
By Anayo Ezugwu
THE federal government has asked the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, to stop the electricity distribution companies, Discos, from threatening private entrepreneurs in the country. Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, said NERC must stop the Discos from preventing other investors from making entry into the market to provide power to consumers whom they (Discos) are unable to supply electricity.
In a statement by the federal ministry of power, works and housing, Fashola said instead of threatening, such entrepreneurs should be licensed by the commission subject to its terms and conditions. He said such move would promote competition and private sector participation and avoid a private monopoly of power.
He added that as clearly stated in Section 71(6) of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, EPSRA, dealing with terms and conditions of licenses, no exclusivity or monopoly was intended for a license holder such as Gencos or Discos.
“Unless expressly indicated in the license, the grant of a license shall not hinder or restrict the grant of a license to another person for a like purpose and, in the absence of such an express indication, the licensee shall not claim any exclusivity, provided that the commission may allow a licensed activity to be exclusive for all or part of the period of the license for a specific purpose, for a geographical area, or for some combination of the foregoing.
“If we take into consideration that, after five years of privatisation, there are still people and businesses that do not have power or enough power, common sense and public interest demands that we must not resist ordinary people, small businesses like shops and markets from seeking alternative sources of energy. The truth is that they already have these sources of alternative energy, in small petrol and diesel generators that cost them about N100 per kilowatt hour," he said.
According to him, "If the Discos are not resisting the generator sellers who are contributing to pollution, what is the logic of resisting small entrepreneurs bringing mini gas plants to supply a market need? For now the nation’s developmental needs could not wait for businessmen who are not yet ready to serve.”
Fashola said the stated policy statements were made in the national interest, public good, the need to support small businesses, provide access to power for ordinary people and increase productivity. According to him, although he was not unmindful of concerns about loss of market or customers by Discos such concerns must be balanced against national interest, adding that with improvement in their businesses, they would be in a position to use their economies of scale of large volumes of power to buy out or out-price the small entrepreneurs.
The minister implored members of the public who seek more information to get a copy of EPSRA and read its simple provisions. He added that the Act confers extensive regulatory powers on NERC including the power in Sections 73 and 74, to amend or cancel a license if the licensee is unable to discharge the duties and obligations imposed by the license.
He also directed NERC to immediately step in to ensure that Discos improve on their distribution equipment and increase capacity to enable them optimise the use of electrical resources by the Electricity Generation Companies, Gencos. The minister instructed NERC to enforce the contract of Discos to supply meters and act to ensure the urgent speedy supply and installation of meters with a view to eliminating estimated billing and promote efficient industry and market structures.
He said the improvement in their distribution equipment and increase in capacity would enable the Discos take up the available 2,000MW difference between the Gencos and Discos.
– Jul. 13, 2018 @ 12:45 GMT |