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 Nigerians to Federal Government: take urgent action on power crisis

Nigerians to Federal Government: take urgent action on power crisis

THE NATION

Nigerians are seeking urgent action on the power crisis.

There are tales of woe across the country on the worsening electricity supply.

Many businesses struggle to stay afloat because of the huge spending on diesel. Many other firms have been forced to close down.

Some consumers, especially those yet to be metered, lamented that despite the epileptic supply, they are ripped off through very high bills.

Others urged the Federal Government to reverse the power sector privatisation.

President, Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, Kunle Olubiyo, told our correspondent: “The President needs to wield the big hammer.

“There is no better time than now to review the privatisation programme. It was hurriedly packaged in 2013.”

He tasked the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to sit up.

Besides, he insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari must call stakeholders meeting to know whether the poor situation is due to sabotage or as a result of obsolete equipment.

He said: “There is no better time than now for the government to bring all the stakeholders together to know whether the limitation is as a result of aged equipment or deliberate load rejection. The regulator needs to sit up.”

The activist noted that it was an irony that after several financial interventions from the Federal Government and donor agencies, Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) have performed poorly.

The Central Bank of Nigeria recently released N250 billion to the DisCos through the National Mass Metering Programme.

According to Olubiyo, the DisCos are now generating more revenue but have failed to meet their customers’ power demands.

He said the energy distributors are frivolous with their revenues.

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), National Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Maigandi, said the power situation is affecting both household and business operations.

He said businesses now mainly use solar and generating sets.

Some distribution companies blamed the situation on the supply drop from the national grid.

The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) appealed to customers within its four catchment states to exercise patience until the situation improves.

It said it used to receive 6.5 per cent electricity generation from the national grid for distribution to the four states – Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River and Akwa Ibom – but that what it gets has dropped significantly, forcing it to cut power supply to consumers.

Acting Manager Corporate Communications, Chioma Aninwe, said the PHEDC should not be blamed for the situation.

She assured that the power outages experienced in the state would be rectified as soon as the 6.5 per cent electricity supply is restored.

PHEDC said in a statement: “Please be informed that the intermittent outages you are currently experiencing within our franchise states are as a result of power generation constraint.”

Electricity consumers in the Akwa Ibom State threatened not to pay electricity bills for May and June because of worsening outages in the past two months.

The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) also explained that the power outages being experienced by customers within its franchise areas are due to a drop in power allocation from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), caused by a low receipt from the Generation Companies (GenCos).

Its spokesman Busolami Tunwase promised that the power supply would improve as soon as allocation is increased.

She said customers were notified about the development.

Tunwase said: “Kindly note that the power outage currently being experienced within our franchise (Oyo, Ogun, Kwara, and Osun regions) is due to a drop in power allocation from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

“We assure our valued customers that power supply will improve as soon as power allocation increases.”

IBDC spokesman in the Abeokuta Office, Mr Bada Ayodeji,

also blamed low power generation for the epileptic supply.

He said IBDC can only distribute what is available, stressing that the drop in power supply is a national issue because of the inadequate power generation from GenCos.

He noted that about 12 power stations across the country are having issues.

He said the remaining five stations cannot serve the country adequately.

According to him, IBDC was getting between 25 and 40 megawatts which were inadequate for Abeokuta consumers but now gets 10 megawatts.

He said areas that used to get four or five hours of power supply per day now get about two hours so that others can use from the same lean megawatts.

 

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