12 December 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy have given a damning verdict on the performance of the country’s power sector since the privatisation exercise a few years ago.
It specifically noted its disappointment that electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) which took over from the erstwhile Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) are performing worse than their predecessors.
The Committee chairman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe who led members of the committee on oversight function to Electricity companies in Kaduna said this, in Abuja, on Sunday.
He explained that the performance of the Discos today is worse than that of the defunct state-owned National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) which preceded PHCN in terms of revenue collection.
Abaribe, who earlier spoke at the premises of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company in Kaduna, declared that the committee was unimpressed with the discovery that Discos are recording less than 20 percent of the revenues previously collected by the defunct PHCN.
The committee chairman said, “Returns on collection has reduced but the essence of privatisation is to ensure efficiency.
“Now, you are doing less than 20 percent of the previous capacity. We were looking at better collection and better efficiency from you with privatisation but what we are having is less than 80 percent of what we had.”
Abaribe equally expressed displeasure over the continued reliance on imported electricity meters by the Discos at a time when local producers are complaining of low patronage and the nation’s economy is facing a lot of problems due to the shortage of foreign exchange.
Abaribe said, “We have seen that a lot of Discos are not doing business with Nigerian manufacturers (of meters) and these companies come to us.
“We talk about capacity but they must have orders fist before they produce. You must look at this area.”
Assistant General Manager, Customer Services Standards of the Nigerian Electricity Distribution Company, Dr. Shittu Shaibu, who also participated in the visit also indicted the Discos for failing to meet the performance agreements signed with government.
He said that none of the Discos in the country has met up to 20 percent of the metering plans.
Another member of the committee, Suleiman Hunkuyi said discoveries made by the Committee in Kaduna reflected what obtains within the industry in the country. He said Committee would take its time to analyse the challenges and encourage NERC to impose sanctions where necessary.
In response, a management staff of KADEDC led by Bello Musa, who stood in for the Managing Director, Garba Haruna said, “More than 80 percent of the meters are bypassed or vandalized.