KUNLE KALEJAYE 18 August 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Federal Government is currently examining a bill aimed at providing a legal framework for the new companies in the power sector to operate and collect their due revenue without hindrance.
The bill, which is undergoing scrutiny in the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, also aims to provide stiffer sanction for perpetrator of energy thefts, bill defaulters and vandalism of electricity equipment.
Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprise, Mr. Benjamin Dikki ,said those who engages is such sharp practices are considered saboteurs of the development of the privatised power sector.
Dikki disclosed during a visit to Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Eko DISCO in Lagos that his team from the BPE would have visited Eko Disco before now, admitting that time was of essence.
He also admitted that it was the responsibility of the Federal Government to provide an enabling environment for the new electricity companies to carry out their business activities without disturbance or distraction.
Mr. Dikki said developments in the new companies since the takeover by private investors pointed to a bright future for the industry.
He stated that other initiatives such as technical partnership with a global brand like the TATA group of India and KPMG, exploring alternative sources of power supply through embedded generation and novel metering plans among other innovations by Eko Electricity Distribution Company could not have been achieved under the old monolithic structure of PHCN within a time frame of less than a year.
On the request by the new owners for a cost-reflective tariff structure in the industry, the BPE chief said this may not be possible until a significant improvement in power supply has been attained.
Mr. Dikki said as much as the BPE and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC would be willing to look into the possibility of having a cost-reflective tariff in the industry, the present power supply situation in the country would not make this possible for now.
Commenting on the huge indebtedness of military and other government agencies to the electricity distribution companies, Mr. Dikki said President Jonathan has approved the deduction of debts owed by government agencies from their budgetary allocation.
The post-privatisation visit according to Mr. Dikki, was for the BPE, the body that midwifed the privatisation of the power sector, to have an helicopter view of the industry since the change of guards from government to private hands.
He said the Bureau would from time to time, be monitoring developments in the industry.