By Emma Una
ENGINEER Adekunle Mokuolu, President of Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, has called on the Federal Government to hands off control of Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN and the supply of gas to Power Distribution Companies, DisCos to give them a free hand to function effectively.
Mokuolu said government’s continued control of TCN and supply of gas to the Power distribution companies is against the power sector privatisation policy, which has handed the production and distribution of electricity to private hands as such the transmission companies should also be handled by private companies.
“The government cannot say it has privatized power sector when it is still holding onto to a key component of that sector which amounts to meddlesomeness and that is not good for business.”
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Mokuolu, who was speaking in Calabar at the memorial lecture in honour of a former national vice Chairman of Nse Engineer John Egbe stated that the government is able to do that because of the obsolete laws that control power sector in Nigeria.
“With the transmission company still in the hands of the government they are able to control the tariff and as long as the electricity tariff in Nigeria remains one of the lowest in Africa, the adequate power supply will continue to be elusive.”
The NSE President said the tariff has to be able to meet the financial needs of the companies producing and distributing power to maintain infrastructure and provide returns for the companies, the sustainable power supply will not be a reality
‘standards in this country are bastardised so the distribution companies are using that to break even because the overhead cost for the production and distribution of electricity is very high while the tariff is very low so the distribution companies which deal directly with the consumers have to rely on estimated billing to increase their revenue.”
According to him, electricity production and distribution companies are business enterprises and not humanitarian organisations so there is a need for power sector policy review to update existing laws and policies in the sector to engender efficient power supply.
“The Challenge with the power sector in Nigeria is not principally with the engineers but the problem is on how we manage the various components that make up the sector like the finance, policy, management and infrastructure and what we intend to do is begin a dialogue with stakeholders to review and update the power sector policies”.
Delivering the lecture which is on the topic, Provision of Sustainable Power Supply in Nigeria- the way forward, Engineer Otis Anyaeji stated that the 4000 megawatts power generated currently in Nigeria is far below what is required by Nigerians to engender economic growth compared to other countries of the world.
He said rather than witness an increase in the power supply production, what is being observed is a fall in the yearly power generation which is grossly inadequate for any meaningful development in the country.
“In 1999, we had 1,975 megawatts power produced and this rose to 6,000 in 2012 and by 2014 we had 7,000 megawatts but today what is being produced is just 4,000 megawatts and when you compare that to South Africa which produces 52.08 megawatts with a population of 67. 72 million and Egypt 42 megawatts you will agree that Nigeria with a population of 190 million is nowhere near the expected target.”
He called for the maintenance of electricity supply facilities, revamping of moribund power stations and exploration all available avenues to produce electrical components in Nigeria.