Blackout: Experts, power firms differ on privatisation review

01 May 2016, Lagos – The privatisation of the nation’s power sector has been described by industry experts as a failure, with calls for the review of the process being opposed by the operators and the regulator, ’FEMI ASU writes

*Power transmission lines.

*Power transmission lines.

THIRTY months after the nation’s power sector was privatised, the worsening state of electricity supply is prompting calls for a review of the process that led to the acquisition of the distribution and generation power firms by private investors.

But industry experts, operators and the regulator, in separate interviews with our correspondent, expressed divergent views on the state of the power sector.

Some of the experts, who described the privatisation exercise as a failure, said the Federal Government should find out if the investors had the capacity to perform in line with the contracts they signed.

Power supply to households and businesses has been hovering between 2,000 megawatts and 4,000MW in recent weeks, with many customers complaining of lack of prepaid meters, which they said would enable them to be free from estimated billing from the electricity distribution companies.

Electricity generation in the country stood at 3,569.10MW as of 6.00am on Sunday, May 1, 2016, according to data from the System Operator.

An energy expert and Technical Director, Drilling Services, Template Design Limited, Mr. Bala Zakka, said the power sector was currently not meeting the needs of Nigerians, adding that the strategic commercial and industrial sectors had continued to take a beating from the poor power situation.

He said, “Privatisation has failed. I am not for cancelling or withdrawing of the licences of the private investors, because if the government decides to do that, there will be litigation and there will be compensation. During the period of litigation, Nigerians will still suffer. By the time you go through the process of compensation, the government is already broke. So, there will be issues.

“What they should rather do is to review it to find out what were the ingredients of the privatisation process. Does it mean some of the investors that came in did not know certain things about the assets before they acquired them? Does it mean they didn’t do their due diligence before they came in or they are incompetent? Let the review go towards how the assets were acquired.”

 

 

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