The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, yesterday disclosed that the eligible customer policy has started yielding fruits as Mainstream Energy Limited, an electricity distribution company (GenCo) has signed on five industrial customers.
“Information reaching me shows that five industrial customers are now benefitting from the policy and taking their power directly from a GENCO, who incidentally is our host today, Messrs Mainstream Energy Ltd,” the minister said.
Speaking of progress made by the current administration on its journey to incremental power towards steady and, finally, uninterrupted supply, Fashola said that eligible customer policy was designed to improve distribution side of electricity and facilitate better power supply to consumers who consumed up to 2 Megawatts and above.
The minister who spoke at the 29th Monthly Power Sector Operators meeting hosted by Mainstream Energy Solution Limited in Minna Niger State, added that the creation of the N701billion payment assurance guarantees GenCos had been enjoying increased receipt in revenue.
“Since its implementation in 2017, recovery of payments by GENCOs has increased from 20 per cent to 80 per cent, and power supply capacity has improved from 4,000MW to 7,000MW and there is an appetite by other players to participate,” he stated.
On measure being taken to strengthen the distribution of electricity, the minister said he has issued directives to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to work out and implement Competition Transition Charges as provided by law, to safeguard them from any losses.
“We will continue to monitor the impact of the policy and remain flexible to keep what works and change what does not; and I urge everybody to remain open-minded, adaptive and responsive,” he said.
The minister further submitted that the distribution companies (DisCos) remains the weakest in the power sector value chain.
“Those who know and who genuinely desire to solve problems in this industry do not need to be told that the most pressing challenge of the sector today lies at the distribution end.
“Amongst the challenges at this sector of the value chain, (and there are problems in gas, generation and transmission), the most urgent are distribution of available energy to consumers, and there is an unused energy in the region of 2,000 Megawatts in this category.
“The other, of course, is the supply of meters to consumers. These two issues of power distribution and supply of meters rank highest in the feedback from the stakeholders in the industry,” he stated.
He added that, “In order to address these challenges and find solutions to them, I issued policy guidelines and directives to appropriate institutions for them to act.
“It is in this context that I think it is fortuitous that Mainstream is our host today, because my remarks will focus on the review of progress we have made with some of our policies,” he said.
On the implementation of the meters assets provider (MAP) policy, Fashola said reports reaching him indicate that there was an embracement of the policy as entrepreneurs were showing interest and talking to banks to raise finance.
“Some DISCOs have signed up to the government-supported fund of N37billion and we will keep an eye on the progress of the initiative.
“Government’s intervention in this regard is part of its role of enabling to be effective. It does not relieve the DISCOs of their contractual obligation to provide meters.
“On the contrary it seeks to help them perform their contract,” he stated.