By Gift Chapi Odekina
The House of Representatives Committee on Power on Wednesday, queried the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, for not ensuring sanctions to Distribution Companies (DisCos) over breach of contract.
The Committee therefore, asked the minister to met out stiffer sanctions to the DisCos, to enable them sit up and provide the desired services to Nigerian people.
The minister who was at the House of Representatives to defend the 2021 budget of his ministry before the Power Committee, said that the country was doing well in generation but lamented that distribution has been the problem.
Mamman said, “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.
“During the period between 2015 to date, the sector has recorded successes and has faced challenges. In order to deliver this administration’s promise of providing stable and affordable power to Nigerians, a way forward was defined and supported by Mr President’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 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 dontvknow who to call, we don’t know who to hold. It is you we know.”