Nigeria: Senate wants more focus on alternative energy exploration

*Solar panels.

*Solar panels.

*Calls for review of power policy
*As govt asks Nigerians to be patient over poor power situation

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

16 December 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Senate Committee on Power has charged the Federal government to place more emphasis on the exploration of renewable energy as an alternative to fossil-fueled electricity.

The committee also warned the distribution, transmission and generation companies against short-changing consumers on the proposed electricity tariff.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator James Manager, lamented what he called the “deplorable power sector in the country in spite of the amount of money injected into the sector since 1999.”

He noted that, “The power sector has been in a deplorable state for quite a while and we need to focus our attention towards energy mix thereby encouraging and emphasising on renewables.”

He called for a review of Nigeria’s power sector policies with a view to enhancing optimum performance across the entire sector, noting that the country’s current generation capacity hovers around 4,700 megawatts despite the huge funds injected into it so far for a large population of over 170 million people.

“This current situation has put so many people out of business and taken away from others their means of livelihood. The generation segment has been bedeviled by lack of turn around maintenance, gas pipeline vandalisation, among other challenges which has affected the level of power supply nationwide,” Manager added.

He tasked the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to work with the federal government to make every necessary adjustment to enable the segment function maximally.

He regretted that privatisation of the sector has not guaranteed better services for Nigerians.

“With the segment now wholly private sector driven, Nigerians expect better services. However, our recent experience has not been pleasant, ranging from metering gaps resulting in estimated billing system, load rejection from the distribution companies due to poor infrastructure, which impact negatively on the management of loads allocation,” he said.

According to Manager, “The demand by the distribution companies for cost reflective tariff so as to remain in business should be placed side by side with effective service delivery, so that at the end of the day,service providers are not regulated out of the market.

“However,Nigerians should never be made to pay for services not rendered, since this development if not properly addressed could be a recipe for chaos,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said the ministry he heads has resolved to talk less and concentrate all energy on works.

The minister who made this remark while appearing before the Senate Committee on Power, advised Nigerians to be patient with the government, assuring that their patience will yield bountiful results in the end.

According to him, the ministry needed time to right the wrongs in the power sector, saying the rots of many decades cannot be wiped away in one day.

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