13 April 2014, Abuja – Chairman, Presidential Taskforce on Power, Beks Dagogo-Jack, in this encounter, responded to issues bordering on the frustrations of electricity consumers, saying the Federal Government and the regulators are bent on making the best out of the power sector privatisation.
Almost six months after the handover of power assets to new investors, the reality today is Nigerians are yet to begin to count the gains of the much anticipated dividend of privatisation of the sector. On the part of the investors, the lingering problem of lack of adequate gas supply accentuated by the unabated attacks on gas pipeline, among others, are making it difficult for them to make the much desired impact in the area of generation and distribution.
Expectedly some of the activities of the regulatory authorities in the power sector appeared to have been drowned by harvests of complaints from consumers both at individual and corporate levels.
One of such regulatory interventions that drew the ire of the members of the public was the N750 fixed charge on electricity consumers.
Just last week, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), mobilised students, traders, house owners and politicians in Edo State to protest against the collection of N750 from customers by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDCO) as fixed charge.
One of the questions raised by the protesters was the sense in government’s support for the N750 fixed charge when the new investors are alleged not to be doing enough to improve power supply.
Competitive Cost Recovery Model
In his response, Chairman, Presidential Taskforce on Power, Mr. Beks Dagogo-Jack, explained that the scenario playing out in the Nigerian power sector is not peculiar to the country, saying the goal of the regulator is to build a market where recovery model must be competitive.
According to him, this is a regulated market. The regulator, he added, is an independent agency empowered by the National Assembly to create a self-sustaining electricity market.
Rising in defence of government, Dagogo-Jack said, “It is not government which provided for fixed charge. It is the regulator based on how tariff is designed in similar electricity markets. Nigeria is not an island. The regulator and his team are very knowledgeable about the tariff processes.
“To build a market where new investors come in to spend money on new capacity, our cost recovery model must be competitive. We have just rolled out the privatised market. It will go through teething challenges but we shall overcome all. This has been the case in all previous power reforms undertaken in other countries and I’m definite our market and supply stabilisation period will be far shorter than many who had done this,” he boasted.
– Festus Akanbi, This Day