FG unveils power policy, says tariff hike unavoidable - PUNCH
BY ’Femi Asu
The Federal Ministry of Power has announced the introduction of a new electricity distribution policy, called ‘willing seller, willing buyer’.
It said under the new policy, electricity would be wheeled directly from generation companies to willing consumers ready to fully settle their bills.
The ministry said in a statement that the willing consumers might include community and commercial clusters, industrial areas and hospitality sectors.
The Minister of Power, Mr Sale Mamman, was quoted as saying on a phone-in radio programme in Kano that the policy was designed to save energy losses in the power sector and assist Gencos, which had not been getting the full payment for their generated power.
According to the statement, the policy has already taken off as a pilot scheme in two states.
He hinted that with the anticipated improvement in power supply to the country, the increase in electricity tariffs was inevitable, considering the cost of energy generation in the country.
The minister revealed that Discos had not been distributing all the power wheeled to them on the pretence that the consumers were unable to pay for the power.
This, he said, necessitated the huge Federal Government’s subsidy intervention in the power sector by paying the Gencos for undistributed power.
Mamman lamented that the Federal Government approved an intervention fund of N700bn to the Gencos in 2017 and just recently, another N600bn was approved for the same purpose.
He said the huge subsidy was an overbearing burden on the government, adding that over 2,000 megawatts of electricity was not being distributed due to the failure of the distribution chain.
He disclosed that the Discos owed the Gencos and other agencies in the sector over N1.3tn and that their collection and remittances had remained below 30 per cent despite several efforts to make them improve.
The minister said the government was taking various measures including the completion of ongoing power projects to improve generation and distribution in the country.
He called on Nigerians to be more responsible citizens by paying their electricity bills, saying electricity tariffs were higher in the neighbouring Niger Republic but payments were almost 100 per cent.
Mamman added that as part of efforts to improve power supply to the North, a new 330KVA line would be installed for Kano and other cities to balance the distribution in the country.