By Chris Ochayi
THE crisis rocking the power sector is far from being over as the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has insisted that the Electricity Distribution Companies, DISCOs, were having difficulty funding the distribution infrastructure.
The Minister therefore, called on state governors to offer support towards improved power infrastructure in their respective states in order to protect governments’ 40 per cent stake in the power sector.
The Minister, who made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the 4th National Council on Power, NACOP, holding at the Government House, Benin City, Edo State, said the states can’t sit and watch the sector deteriorate.
He said: “It is no longer news that the Distribution Companies, DISCOs, are having difficulty funding distribution infrastructure. Therefore, as collective 40 per cent shareholders, we cannot sit back without finding a solution.”
Fashola, while speaking further on the theme: Increasing Access to Electricity through Improved Power Infrastructure, called on the governors to support access to electricity through improved power infrastructure in their respective states.
He said: “The point I wish to make clear is that all state governments have a role to play to support the private sector,” adding that each state government should work with the DISCO that serves their state. “This is required to identify the distribution equipment needed to deliver power, cost implication, make the investment and agree on a recovery strategy.
“There are many other things you can do to support access to power and improve infrastructure, including but not limited to ensuring that your state and local governments’ Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), pay their debts and also pay for energy used.”
The minister further stated that the Metter Asset Provider (MAP), Regulations issued by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), opens a window of participation to entrepreneurs to enter the business of meter production, supply and installation.
He pointed out that apart from the job creation component of such gesture, it is also a window of intervention for state government to support small and Medium Scale Enterprises to operate in the power sector.
Fashola further disclosed that increased supply of meters, a major infrastructure in the power value chain will bridge distrust and help manage the conflict that exists between consumers and the Discos about estimated billings.