By Chris Ochayi
THE House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation has warned the Electricity Distribution Companies, DISCOs, to sit up and face their responsibilities of taking electricity to consumers, noting that Nigerians would no longer tolerate further semantics from them.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Timilehin Adelegbe, who led other members of the committee to Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, on oversight function in Abuja, where he issued the riot act, said Nigerians need steady power supply.
Adelegbe said: “Nigerians are tired of many stories from the Distribution Companies, DISCOs. They are fed up with semantics and so, what they want now is constant power. Nigerians want to enjoy power 24/4.”
Adelegbe noted that the committee was on oversight function visit to the company to review the achievements and challenges in the company’s quest to provide uninterrupted power to customers within the company’s franchise area.
In his presentation earlier, the Managing Director of AEDC, Mr. Ernest Mupwaya said that the bills the company got from the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) has over the last 4 years risen to 106 percent at present even as revenue inflow only managed to witness an increase of 16 percent.
According to Mupuwaya, the burden arose mainly because of non-reflective tariff. He said the review of tariff which ought to be done by the regulator proportional to the energy charge has not been done by the regulator for the last 5 years.
He said: “The cost of energy we buy has gone up to 106 percent, whereas AEDC’s tariff recorded 16 per cent increase between June, 2015 and June, 2019.
“The adjustment which the regulator ought to do has not been done, whereas it is in the agreement that where there is 5 per cent increase in whole energy bill, the regulator should review. This is the root cause of the liquidity problem facing the sector-the energy cost-tariff differential.”
Mupuwaya noted that another big challenge militating against the company’s 24/7 supply of electricity drive is the Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection Losses (ATC & C.
According to him, the bulk of the collection losses they use to have is the unpaid bills of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) whose debts he said accounts for most of the losses.
“One key variable that is key to transformation anywhere is the ability to keep losses at its lowest level possible. As I said, we have been able to reduce the losses from 59 percent at inception to 39 percent(i.e. 14 percent reduction) at the moment, yet they are still quite high.