By IGHO OYOYO
The House of Representatives Committee on Power has asked the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman to impose stiffer sanctions on Distribution Companies (DisCos), to enable them sit up and provide the desired services to Nigerians.
The committee chaired by Aliyu Magaji Dau, also expressed anger at the Minister of Power, who appeared before the Power Committee to defend the 2021 budget of his ministry,
for not ensuring sanctions on DisCos over what they described as gross irresponsibility and wickedness in the execution of their contract.
The minister however said that the country was doing well in power generation, but lamented that distribution has been the problem.
“Under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, the country’s grid power capacity has increased significantly from the time this administration took over in 2015 to sate.
“Today, the installed grid power generation capacity has reached 13,000MW from 8000MW in 2015; similarly, transmission capacity has increased to 8000MW from 5000 in 2015. The distribution system have the capacity to evacuate 5500MW of power, having grown from 4500MW in 2015. The private sector ran Distribution system have the least capacity in the power value chain,” he said.
The minister explained that during the period between 2015 to date, the sector has recorded successes and has faced challenges, that in order to deliver the present administration’s promise of providing stable and affordable power to Nigerians, a way forward was defined and supported by President Muhammad Buhari’s political will.
“Based on the above mentioned efforts, the quality of service enjoyed by electricity consumers in Nigeria has improved as evidenced by the recent report from National Control Centre (NCC), Osogbo, which recorded highest energy generation per day in the history of the Nigerian electricity market delivering 112, 488MW of energy on 8 April, 2020, while the grid also recorded the highest peak generation ever of 5,420MW on 17 September 2020.
“This indicates an improvement in the supply of quality and reliable electricity. Furthermore nationwide, there are reports of improvement in the number of hours Nigerians are provided with electricity. This will only get better with the implementation of the Siemens Electrification Roadmap,” he said.
He disclosed that the Siemens would be involved in both generation and distribution, stressing that the project would be financed through a foreign loan from the German government.
The minister pointed out that the DisCos as it were, enjoyed 60 percent revenues of the power distribution while 40 percent was for Nigeria, with the agreement that the DisCos would replace damaged infrastructure, and carried out other investment in the sector.
Mamman told the Committee that the DisCos were always dodging from responsibility, by claiming that they had no funds, and that government did not allow them to increase tariffs.
While the minister concluded his submission, the lawmakers were angry that the DisCos were making fortune from the sector by reaping off citizens.
One of the lawmakers, Wale Raji, explained how citizens and communities have been forced to carry out installations of infrastructure, such as transformers, conductors, electricity poles, because the DisCos bluntly refused to invest.
“Most of the DisCos are irresponsible. They are grossly irresponsible. We don’t even know whether we were not better off with PHCN. Transformers will breakdown, DisCos will not replace, communities will have to buy. It is nothing but exploitation. You will need to do more to protect the citizens.
“Allvthese protests you are seeing are accumulated anger against government. You will need to do more in sanctioning DisCos for not providing and replacing damaged infrastructure,” he told the minister.
Ruling on the submissions, Aliyu Magaji, Chairman of the committee who was very angry at the DisCos told the minister, “sanction the DisCos please. If you do that, you will be our darling, you will be the darling of Nigerians too. Nigerians are cheated. We do not know who to call, we do not know who to hold. It is you we know.”