By Anayo Ezugwu
AS the liquidity challenges facing the electricity distribution companies in Nigeria persist, Saleh Mamman, minister of power, has urged the Discos to ensure massive metering of consumers in the country. He said metering remains the best option towards addressing liquidity challenges in the power sector.
Mamman, who spoke during an inspection tour of Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company, MEMMCOL, in Ogun State, said effective metering of electricity consumers was the best option to help Discos get more money to pay generation companies, Gencos. He described metering as one of the factors bothering Nigerians, particularly the electricity consumers.
“When I resumed, I took metering as one of the important areas of electricity market liquidity and sustainability. We have to produce meter to get more money for the sector. This will enable us to get more money from Discos to pay Gencos. The only way to achieve that is to embrace metering.
“That is why I have come here to see it and believe it and to also direct on how to get meters out to the consumers. I’m here to inspect the factory of MEMMCOL, because I don’t believe in sitting in the office and listening to stories. I want to see things for myself and today I’m convinced that we have a Nigerian that has the capacity and capability to bridge the huge metering gap in the country. I am more encouraged now to declare that our local companies have the capacity to produce meter that is expected and required in the country,” he said.
Mamman commended the management of MEMMCOL for putting up such gigantic facility with the capacity to meet Meter Assets Providers, MAPs, specification in the country. “I am very much impressed with the local content drive by MOMAS on meter manufacturing to see a Nigerian producing meter up to 1,000 per day. This is indeed commendable. MOMAS is one of the top meter manufactures in Nigeria that we should be proud of. We should allow and encourage investors into the country and also give consideration to our own local manufacturers to grow.”
Mamman complained that while the cost of electricity units in neighbouring Niger Republic was higher than it is in Nigeria, consumers in Niger were prudent in their payment for electricity bills unlike in Nigeria where he claimed consumers evade payments.
According to him, the government has introduced a new electricity distribution policy called ‘willing seller, willing buyer,’ in which electricity would be supplied directly from the Gencos to willing consumers, who are ready to fully settle their bills.
He explained that under the new differential power distribution policy, the willing consumers may include community and commercial clusters, industrial areas and hospitality sectors. “The policy was designed to save energy losses in the power sector and assist generation companies who have not been getting the full payment for their generated power,” he said.
Mamman equally said Discos has not been distributing all the power supplied to them on the pretense that consumers were unable to pay for the power. This, according to him, necessitated the government’s huge financial intervention in the sector by reportedly paying the Gencos for undistributed power. He stated that in 2018, government approved N700 billion as intervention fund for the Gencos and recently, another N600 billion approved for the same purpose.
He explained that the huge subsidy was an overbearing burden on the government, adding that over 2,000 megawatts of electricity was not being distributed due to the failure of the distribution chain. According to him the Discos owed the Gencos and other stakeholders in the sector over N1.3 trillion, adding that their collections and remittances have remained below 30 percent despite several efforts to make them improve.
Assuring that the government was taking various measures, including the completion of on-going power projects to improve generation and distribution in the country, Mamman called on Nigerians to be more responsible citizens by paying their electricity bills.
– Dec. 13, 2019 @ 17:55 GMT |