…As Ministers of Power resume
By Obas Esiedesa
The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) says it has recommended to the government that the Kano Electricity Distribution Company (Kano DisCo) should be liquidated following its inability to meet its financial obligations to the electricity market.
The Managing Director of TCN, Mr. Usman Mohammed disclosed this when he briefed the new Minister of Power, Engr. Saleh Mamman and Minister of State Power, Godwin Jedi-Agba during their resumption of office on Thursday in Abuja.
Mamman had shortly after they were briefed by the Ministry’s Directors and head of agencies and government owned companies pledged an open door policy during his time at the ministry.
The Minister reminded the top functionaries that power supply was not only the central nervous system but also the indispensable vehicle for the delivery of all government policies as they relate to the social economic and industrial development of the country.
“I am not unaware of the fact that the quest for an effective and efficient power sector in our nation has been unending pain to Nigerians.
“You may also agree that the issues arising from our action and inaction as a ministry have remained on the front burners of the country’s endless and boring discourse on our failure as a nation,” he said.
Earlier in his briefing, TCN MD, Mr. Mohammed, said electricity distribution companies (DisCos) were failing to meet their market obligations thereby stifling the development of the power sector.
He said DisCos which failed to pay for energy taken and paid for by consumers should be liquidated.
Mr. Mohammed had previously called for the recapitalization of the DisCos, arguing that the companies needed injection of funds to enable them invest in distribution infrastructure.
Kano Electricity Distribution Company is currently disconnected from the grid by TCN for failing to make remittances to the market. It is the second time this year that the company is facing sanctions for market infractions.
The TCN boss who briefed the ministers on the extensive transmission infrastructure built by the company in the past two years, noted that TCN was no longer the weakest link in the power network.
He pointed out that the government’s hand was not tied in the power sector as it has options in accordance with the law setting up the sector.
“It is very clear now that the thinking that the government does not options in power sector is not true. To say that government hand is tied is not true. Under the market rule, in section 74, it very clear that a licensee like TCN that depends on the DisCo for its revenue can actually petition a DisCo that is not performing and get recourse under the Act.
“In fact, you can recommend the liquidation of the DisCo. And Honourable Minister, as we speak with you, we have recommended the liquidation of one DisCo because of lack of performance”.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) says it undertook extensive consultations before it came out the new electricity tariff for the sector.
NERC Chairman, Prof James Momoh told newsmen shortly after the meeting with the new ministers of power that the commission was not expecting any opposition to the new tariff increase as it was the right time to effect the hike.
“We looked carefully at all indicators and we had extensive consultations. It was not done by fiat. We sat down with all the stakeholders. It is the right time to do it because we have the numbers. The meters being deployed will reduce estimated billings so that consumers can control their consumptions”, he explained.