By Tayo Joseph Lagos, Nigeria
Communique Issued at the end of the 17th monthly meeting of the Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing with operators of the Power Sector, held on Monday, July 10, 2017 at Apo Injection Substation, Abuja
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, (Power), Engr. Louis Edozien chaired the seventeenth monthly meeting of operators in the electricity industry.
The meeting was hosted by Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) in Apo Transmission Station, Abuja. The meeting coincides with the commissioning of Kukuaba Transmission Station, which is aimed at improving power supply to Abuja metropolitan area as a relief to the overloaded Katampe substation. The completion of this transmission station is to ensure that the capacity of transmission infrastructure remains ahead of the nation’s generation capacity to ensure that power generated is delivered to Nigerians. 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 Commissioners 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), Gas Companies (GasCos) and other 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. Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) were also represented.
2. The meeting reiterated its purpose, and in addition deliberated and agreed as follows:
a) AEDC maintained its dedication to customer service by improving communications, metering and customer enumeration to ensure that its customers are well served. The MD, AEDC 2 reported its procurement of 120,000 new meters to ensure that customers only pay for energy consumed.
b) The importance of customer service was emphasized as the bedrock of the industry, and the chairman reminded the general public of the existence of customer service centres, helpdesks and phone numbers of Distribution Companies, being the first port of call for customers, followed by referral to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), if issues were not resolved.
c) Improvements to interface issues between the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and Distribution Companies (DisCos) were highlighted as a benefit of the monthly meetings with power sector operators, as these are vital to ensuring that power generated is delivered to customers.
d) The Federal Ministry of Power Works and Housing reiterated its commitment to clarifying sector policy, citing the recently publicised minigrid regulation enacted by NERC as a milestone for the sector. The announcement of the rights of eligible power customers was aimed at ensuring that customers who wish to have premium service and are prepared to pay for it are allowed to do so. The Ministry stated its conviction that a power market anchored by bilateral agreements is the way forward to achieving improved power supply. The Ministry reminded that these actions are not a threat to DisCos but are designed to strengthen the business for robust market.
e) NDPHC announced that the electrification of the Omotosho host community will be completed shortly. Okija community electrification is ongoing, with the procurement of distribution transformers for that community. Egbema is reported to be currently receiving power from Enugu DisCo but will expect increased supply as faults in infrastructure are being repaired. Work is also ongoing on a line to transmit power from Ihiala to Nnewi and will be completed on schedule. NDPHC however stated that electrification of Magboro community has been delayed due to vandalism of infrastructure and community engagement is in progress to resolve this challenge. TCN stated that work on evacuation infrastructure at Omotosho I plant at Ikeja West is significantly progressed and is undergoing further testing.
f) In addition to Ibaramu, Ikaram/Egedegede, Ikakumo, Auga, Ise communities who were reconnected last month by Benin Electricity Distribution Company, restoration has continued 3 as planned in the following communities: OkeAgbe, Akunnu, Ajowa, Ogbagi, and Arigidi. Connection to Oka community will be completed by the end of the week.
g) Eko Electricity Distribution Company stated that challenges with Ajijedun/Abiola Landlord Association are in process of being resolved.
h) Payments of N701bn payment assurance to Generating Companies for January are complete while February is in progress to ensure generation companies remain functional.
i) Jos Electricity Distribution Company announced that its collaboration with the Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies in rooting out electricity theft in Plateau State has been successful, as several high-profile customers committing energy theft, including corporate organisations and individuals have been identified and punished according to the regulatory allowances. JED PLC plans to expand this initiative to reduce energy theft to other states.
j) The Market Operator lauded Eko DisCo for making full payments for services provided and Yola DisCo for making 91% payments. No other DisCo made payments up to 50% and NERC has commenced enforcement procedures for non-payment in the sector.