Power sector reforms: NERC urges electricity consumers to be patient



Mr Uche Okoro,  the Special Adviser, Research and Strategy, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, on Wednesday called for patience from the public in order to enjoy the benefits of the privatised power sector.


Okoro made this call at a seminar organised by the Nigerian-Danish Chamber of Commerce (NDCC) in Lagos.


The theme of the seminar was: ‘‘Power Sector Reforms: Overcoming Institutional and Regulatory Challenges in an Era of Liberalisation.’’


According to him, certain institutional and economic challenges confronting the new investors in the sector have slowed down the effectiveness of the power sector reforms.


“The Federal Government privatised the power sector in order to bring about positive result in power generation and distribution.


“Unfortunately, some issues have been slowing down government’s effort in achieving this feat.


“According to the terms of agreements in the privatisation process, the new investors are meant to work alongside with staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria for a period of six months.


“This is to allow them shadow-trade and understudy the generation and transmitting systems in a bid to creating necessary technical trouble-shooting that will guarantee a successful take-over and management of the Discos.


“This was sabotaged by the labour issues that arose during the privatisation process,’’ he said.


Okoro said that some of the investors lacked adequate funds to run their businesses.


According to him, the investors have borrowed so much money from various financial institutions with an assurance of generating quick funds from the nearly-moribund power system.


“They are yet to generate money to pay their debts much less funds to trade with.


“Constant pipeline vandalism, negative attitude of consumers to paying utility bills, illegal connections and many other issues have slowed down the efficiency of services rendered by these investors.


“We really need to exercise patience with these new investors, six months are not enough to resolve  problems that have lingered for decades,’’ he said.


Mr Sanusi Garba, Director of Power, Federal Ministry of Power, said the Federal Government was working on modalities to bail out the investors from their financial problems in enhancing power sector reforms.


Mr Jakob Bejer, Danish Honorary Consul to Nigeria, said that the nation’s economy could not be competitive without a viable manufacturing sector.


He also said that many businesses were struggling to survive because of the influx of sub-standard imported products from China.


He said that constant power supply would give the manufacturing sector a competitive edge to eradicate and frustrate imports of sub-standard goods.


Mr Ben Adako, President of NDCC, said that electricity was a necessary factor in rejuvenating industrial capacity of a nation.


He appealed to the Federal Government to ameliorate the challenges confronting power distribution and generating companies in the country in order to create a reliable and efficient power sector.


“The overall interest in the business sector is the availability of power supply.


“Its impact on the private sector will be positive in the sense of job creation, increase in economic growth, greater productivity and prosperity for the nation,’’ he said.