The federal government has tasked State Governors to secure right-of-way for transmission lines, as part of its coordinated and collaborative efforts to improve the power supply in the country.
The FG also pointed out the critical role of the state’s involvement in the power distribution segment, encompassing infrastructure enhancement, reduction of metering gap, enforcement of bill collection, rural electrification, combatting power theft, and preventing asset vandalisation.
Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, gave this task, when he received in audience, a high-powered delegation from Abia State, led by Governor Alex Otti, who paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
Chief Adelabu, averred that meaningful transformation in the power sector is hinged on the active participation of governments at the sub-national level.
This is as the Minister proposed unbundling of various regional DISCOs into different states, to allow for more localised oversight.
“Financial collaboration modalities between the federal and state governments will be explored, possibly involving a swap of federal government stakes in DISCOs with State stakes in the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC),” the Minister explained.
To achieve this, the Ministry plans to collaborate closely with state ministries of power, energy and public utilities.
Adelabu, also noted that addressing challenges in the distribution segment requires unified efforts from sub-national governments due to its retail nature.
He underscored the vested interests of state governments in distribution, adding that they are closer to DISCOs and better positioned to support and monitor them to achieve their performance improvement plans.
Adelabu also highlighted collaboration opportunities in rural electrification, encouraging States to establish active rural electrification boards working in tandem with the Ministry’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA).
He said: “Support from state governments in the provision of distribution transformers and replacement of weak power lines is deemed crucial for achieving reliable and functional power supplies”.
The minister also announced plans for an inaugural ministerial retreat for the power sector from December 12th to 14th, 2023, where these issues would be extensively discussed.
He extended the invitation to attend the retreat to Governor Otti while emphasising the sector’s importance for economic growth and industrial development at both National and state levels.
The Abia State governor, Dr. Alex Otti applauded the minister’s well-thought-out strategies and expressed support for his transformative efforts.
He pledged to attend the upcoming retreat, aligning state-level thoughts with the Minister’s vision.
The commissioner of Power, Abia State, Eng. Ikechukwu Monday, also commended the Minister and affirmed support for his drive to transform the Power Sector.