21 August 2014, Abuja – The Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, has said that the fixed charge currently being paid by electricity consumers in the country will be dispensed with as soon as power generation increases to an economically sustainable level.
Dikki said this during a live/phone-in radio programme, Radio Link on Radio Nigeria, in Abuja. According to him, the fixed charge is a temporary measure.
The BPE boss said the country had an installed power generation capacity of 6,000 megawatts but was generating only about 3,000MW to 4,000MW.
Dikki, in a statement made available by the BPE on Wednesday, said revenues from the 3,000MW were not sufficient to support the power infrastructure.
“When power generation increases, the fixed charge will go,” he added.
He said the charge was the initial sacrifice consumers had to make given the huge financial investment made by the new investors in the power sector, who had yet to make adequate returns on their investments.
On complaints of non-availability of electricity meters, the BPE helmsman said the government was addressing the issue, as the Presidency had approved N33bn low interest intervention fund to support the power distribution companies to buy meters and other accessories.
He pointed out that Nigeria currently required three million meters yearly.
Dikki debunked claims of lack of transparency in the privatisation of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company and the picture created of a conflict between Geometrics Power Group and Interstate Electrics Limited, the core investor in the Enugu Distribution Company.
On the KEDC, he said the reserved bidder could only be invited to step in if the preferred bidder failed to pay up the bid price.
He added that the preferred bidder was within the time limit to pay the 75 per cent balance of the bid price after the initial payment of 25 per cent had been made.
The DG said it was wrong for anybody to call for the revocation of the sale as the process had to be completed before the reversion to the reserved bidder could be made.
On Geometrics, Dikki explained that it had a 20-year contract with the Enugu Distribution Company to supply power to the Aba and Ariaria districts, which was not in contention.
“Both parties are aware of this but it baffles me when people go out to deliberately distort the facts. We don’t understand the hue and cry that Geometrics is short-changed in the transaction,” he added.
The DG noted that the Bureau intended to focus on the transport sector in the next phase of the privatisation exercise as the sector was contributing about 30 per cent to the cost of doing business in the country.
– The Punch