By Chris Ochayi
THE Electricity Distribution Companies, DISCOs have vowed to comment on government initiatives in order to protect their huge investments in Nigeria’s power sector.
Reacting to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC’s instruction that they should desist from meddling into policy issues, the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, ANED, said the DISCOs would continue to challenge policies that impact negatively on their operations.
Chief Executive Officer, ANED, Azu Obiaya, who made the disclosure, added that their activities were guaranteed by Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the right of association.
He stated: “The DISCOs, with their formation of, and membership of ANED, are exercising this right, no different from similar entities along the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI value chain such as the Association of Power Generating Companies, APGC, Nigerian Gas Association, NGA, National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, etc.”
ANED said it represents the DISCOs with a principal mandate of advocacy, to protect the interests of its member companies directly and indirectly, the incomes of a 22,000-employee workforce.
According to ANED: “The investors who have sunk more than $1.4 billion in the acquisition and operations of the DISCOs to date, and our customers who seek to enjoy the benefits of the best practices that result from the interaction of our members under the ANED umbrella.
“Its expression or promotion of a viewpoint that is contrary to that of an established regulation or policy should not be construed as ‘interference’, particularly, in the context of the workings of an industry with multiple stakeholder interests.
“There was need to address the widening tariff gap that hinders DISCOs from performing their obligations due to freezing of the residential tariffs (R2) in 2015, for 18 months, removal of Collection Losses in 2015; non-implementation of five tariff reviews.
“N435.7 billion of under-recovered revenue, among others are the regulatory responsibilities NERC should focus on.
“It’s interested in the urgent reset of the sector, with the implementation of the Power Sector Reform Program, PSRP, to stop the sector from bleeding, drive the investment that is critical for injecting efficiency and provide electricity customers respite from the current difficulties of electricity supply.”