By Obas Esiedesa
THE Federal Government yesterday attributed the poor performance of the power sector to inadequate gas supply power plants, poor distribution infrastructure and low tariff by segments of the population.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Mr. Temitope Fashedemi who disclosed this on the first day of the 5th National Council on Power, in Abuja, said the challenges have created illiquidity in the electricity market in the country.
Fashedemi noted that despite the strides recorded in the sector in the past years, there were still major challenges.
“This year’s theme ‘Sustaining and Improving Electricity Supply through the Power Sector Value Chain for Socio-Economic Growth’ is apt. This is because despite the giant strides made since the enactment of the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act (EPSR) in 2005 and the Road Map for the Power Sector in 2010, there are still serious concerns affecting the various segments of the NESI. Generation – Inadequate Gas supply affecting Power Plants. Transmission – Right of Way issues preventing building of new infrastructure and vandalization of existing infrastructure.
“Distribution – Inadequate Maintenance, persistence of cost reflective tariff by segment of the population. All these cause liquidity of the NESI and subsequently inadequate power to meet the needs of the people. This forum provides an opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas on how to provide sustainable power to our teeming population”, he stated.
On his part, the Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Engr. Sule Abdulaziz stated that the company has made significant progress in its main mandates: grid expansion, grid maintenance, and grid operation since the last NACOP meeting.
While pointing out that TCN was working to improve the reliability of the national grid, he explained that vandalism of network assets has become a major challenge.
According to him, “Vandalism is now a recurring challenge for TCN. Funds meant for grid expansion and routine maintenance are constantly being deployed to clean up the act of vandals. These challenges are definite signals that we cannot afford to rest on our oars in achieving our goal.
“TCN is equally confronting the problem of illiquidity in the electricity market. Payment for TCN services in the market has gone down from 55 percent to 30 percent in the recent past and with that, funds coming to TCN in the form of revenue have also reduced drastically”.
Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director, Nigerian Electricity Management Services, NEMSA, Engr. Aliyu Tahir said the government has ordered the disconnection of electricity supply to structures erected under power lines and power lines right of way.
“On our part at NEMSA, we have issued enforcement directives to utility companies to disconnect from the public power supply all structures, buildings and premises found under power lines or within the right of way of power lines.
“So far, above 5,000 structures have been disconnected from power supply as a first step towards the removal and demolition of such structures”, he added.
The National Council on Power, NACOP, is made up of Federal Government officials and States Commissioners of Power in Nigeria.