03 April 2014, Lagos – Despite the federal government’s directives to the new investors to ensure there is visible supply of electricity, Nigerians, are still reeling under longer durations of power outages, months after the private sector took over the generation and distribution companies unbundled from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
The situation has gone from bad to worse in most parts of Lagos State as electricity consumers in areas such as Ogba, Agege, Ojodu, Akute, Omole, Ikorodu, Surulere, Epe, Festac and Idi Araba often witness days of total blackouts, with only the high brow areas enjoying between three and four hours of power supply in a day.
The recent fire incident at Mobil Oil petrol station in Ikeja, which reportedly damaged some electricity cables had brought more hardship to households and businesses, particularly artisans in Ogba, Agege, Ojodu and parts of Ikeja, where power outages are now more frequent.
Before the private sector took over the assets of the PHCN, the duration of load shedding was about two hours, but the situation has deteriorated since the beginning of this year.
The two companies covering Lagos and parts of Ogun State, the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) and Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) have continued to blame the frequent power outages on shortage of gas supply to the generation companies, limited capacity of the national grid, and sabotage.
In February, the two companies had in a joint stateent acknowledged the poor electricity supply across the state and claimed they were working with relevant bodies and agencies charged with generation and transmission of power to “ensure the journey towards the era of sustainable, effective and stable supply was achieved soon.”
Despite the assurance, the situation became worse since last month, as most neighbourhoods are currently without electricity supply.
The federal government recently gave the new investors a June deadline to ensure that there is visible supply of electricity.
Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, who gave the marching orders on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan at the inauguration of the Board Chairman of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr. Ibrahim Waziri, in Abuja, warned that government would no longer tolerate any excuse of non-performance from any of the sector players from both the ministry, and particularly, new private sector partners.
In what seems a frantic move to resolve the power problem within months, some of the investors recently announced plans to inject huge sums of money to rehabilitate and expand the power assets to substantially boost electricity supply and make the country more commercially viable.
Recently, the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, owned by KEPCO/NEDC Consortium, said it was committing N600 million to improve electricity supply through ongoing projects within its network. The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Abiodun Ajifowobaje, specifically noted that the money would be for quick intervention on transformers installations, pre-paid meter installation, installation of vandalised transformers, re-metering as well as for over head line clearance which often caused network disability.
Similarly, the Chairman of West Power & Gas Limited, owners of the Eko Disco, Mr. Charles Momoh, recently announced the company’s plan to invest N42 billion to transform the facility and improve its distribution network in five years.
– This Day