By Tayo Joseph Lagos, Nigeria
Issued at the end of the 13th monthly meeting of the Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing with operators of the Power Sector, held on Monday, March 13, 2017 at Transcorp Power Limited, Ughelli, Delta State.
The Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) chaired the thirteenth monthly meeting of operators in the electricity industry. The meeting was hosted by Transcorp Power Limited.
The meeting focused on identifying, discussing, and finding practical solutions to critical issues facing the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry.
The operators were fully represented at the highest executive management levels, including a Commissioner of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Managing Directors and CEOs of Generating Companies (GenCos), Distribution Companies (DisCos), and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), as well as various government agencies such as the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET), Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) and Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) responsible for the regulation and development of the electricity industry.
Prior to the commencement of the meeting, the Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing and the Governor of Delta State commissioned a 115MW turbine installed by Transorp Ughelli Limited, bringing installed capacity to 620MW from the 160MW they inherited on privatization in 2013. Transcorp stated that it currently generates only 300MW due to shortage of gas supply, and assured on preparedness to invest facilities to increase gas supply to the power station if government creates an enabling regulatory framework.
2. The meeting deliberated and resolved as follows:
I. Acknowledged that economic progress of the country largely depends on the success of the sector, and as such the Federal Government remains committed to improving electricity supply through actions such as reconstitution of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, and the support of the National Assembly on enacting relevant industry laws.
II. In order to enhance investor confidence in the industry, the Federal Executive Council has also recently approved financing to assure payment to GenCos for electricity generated and supplied on the grid
III. Enugu Electricity Distribution Company and Yola Electricity Distribution Company reported on completion of maintenance works in Awka and Maiduguri to improve service delivery to targeted customers. The meeting commended the completion of the projects.
IV. The meeting reemphasized the need to react to customer complaints more speedily. For example, the meeting also received report on work being done to restore power to Magboro community in Ogun State and Irele and Omotosho communities in Ondo State.
V. Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) reported on improved compliance with submission of audited accounts since the last meeting. The meeting agreed that NERC would more rigorously perform regulatory duties. The meeting tasked NERC to standardize reporting on financial performance, safety and customer service as a fair basis for ranking distribution companies and other industry operators.
VI. The meeting received a report on the ongoing audit of debts owed to distribution companies by government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). The verification team received claims currently estimated at N59.3 billion, subject to further review. The report noted that 86% of debt (N51billion) were owed by the top 100 customers, mainly composed of military and defence installations around the country. As further demonstration of Government’s determination to lead by example with regards to payment for electricity delivered, the report stated that all verified bills will be recommended for payment on a first come first serve basis.
VII. Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) presented ongoing projects to connect communities that host National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP). NDPHC announced progress on projects in Ikot Nyong, Egbema, Ihovbor, Gbarain, Olorunsogo, and Omotosho. Expected completion date for Olorunsogo connection is June 2017 and for Magboro community is April 2017.
VIII. Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) reported on the resolution of way leave issues in Uzalla in Edo State, and ongoing work in Ondo,Rivers State and other locations around the country.
IX. The Market Operator noted that Eko and Ikeja DisCos had the best payment performance with regards payments to service providers, while Port Harcourt DisCo had the worst payment performance to service providers. Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) noted that Eko, Enugu, Ibadan and Jos were the safest DisCos for the month of January.
X. The meeting noted Fedaral Government’s decision to support NBET with N701 billion over two years for NBET to pay generation companies for electricity produced under the power purchase agreements. The initiative does not discharge the obligation of the DisCos to pay their invoices to the Market Operator for services provided by Transmission Service Provider (TSP), ISO (Independent System Operator), and to NBET for the electricity generated, transmitted and delivered to customers.