By Ediri Ejoh
THE Senate has pledged it’s support to assiduously push for policies that would help shore up the needed development in the power sector against current realities.
The Chairman of the Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, Mr Enyinnaya Abaribe and others made this known in Lagos during a visit to Eko Electricity Distribution Company, EKEDC over the weekend.
Abaribe, who lamented great challenges bedevilling the power companies and value chain, called for a collective collaboration to solving crisis.
According to him, “one of the objectives of the visit was to seek clarification of the issues in the nation’s power sector after the handover of the successor companies carved out of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, to private investors in November 2013.
“It is also going to help us in policy formulation because we are also going to interact with the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and with other relevant agencies. Clarification of issues is very necessary for us to understand exactly what is going on,” he added.
The senator said there had been a narrative that “privatisation is a failure”, with suggestions from some persons that the government should take over the assets.
“Now, why we are here is to be sure; if it (privatisation) is not working, why is it not working? Who is at fault? What are the things that are supposed to be done, and those are the answers that we have come to seek, and, of course, Nigerians will get everything that will help them in making a good decision about whether it was a very good decision or not.
“We are tired of talking as the situation has thus changed a little. However, we are ready to work with the operators in the sector to champion the necessary development to the power sector that is if they can be very much engaging with both the House of Assembly and Senate.”
He said the committee was interacting with the power providers to ensure the resolution of the problems, including electricity theft, facing them in the interest of the Nigerian public.
He stated, “We are quite satisfied with what we have heard; we know that they are operating under tremendous difficulties. It is a regulated industry, which means that you cannot charge more than what the government says you should charge. And so, if the government is selling to you at N100 and then tells you to charge at N50, you are already at a loss.
“That is what we want to let Nigerians know; that there are some things that are in this regulated industry, which we need to resolve and it is the resolution that has brought us here.”
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, EKEDC, Mr Adeoye Fadeyibi, said the DISCOs would continue to work towards improving power supply to customers.
He said: “We are in this together, and we must solve the issues because there are contractual obligations to fulfil by the government and the private investors.
For Eko Disco, we are encouraged with the fact that the chairman of the Senate committee commended us for the improvement that he saw.”
He said: “And in doing that, I think what the people should expect is that, as we always say, safety is number one for us but right after that is to ensure we do improve power supply and customer communication is critical.
“For us, it is to ensure that we continue pursuing the goal of 24/7 power supply. So, in doing reliable supply, we want to ensure that energy theft issue continues to go down, and we will continue to provide meters and enumerate our customers, while hoping that the government, on its side, continue to work with us.”