Discos groan under N300b revenue shortfall
.Decry lack of forex, military attack on workers
The 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) are currently operating under a revenue shortfall of about N300 billion, even as they lamented that lack of access to foreign exchange has hindered smooth upgrade of power facilities.
The Discos, under the aegis of Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) in Lagos yesterday bemoaned the Federal Government’s inability to meet the contractual terms under the privatisation programme.
The Executive Director, ANED, Sunday Oduntan, the government has failed in its commitment to supplying good quantum of energy, reducing energy loss and aiding their liquidity profile.
The power generation yesterday stood at 2166 Mega Watts (MW) yesterday, after it rose from a system collapse on Monday.
Oduntan attributed the recent power outages to gas pipeline vandalism that led to shortage of gas to power stations and further impacted on generation profile.
Also, he noted that poor transmission facilities in some case led to low distribution, adding that the Discos are not to blame for poor power supply.
According to him, the distribution firms were also unhappy with low power generation “because it robs customers of needed power supply and prevents the Discos from collecting sufficient revenues to maintain and improve the network,”
Noting that the industry revenue shortfall is massive and growing, Oduntan said the shortfall which currently stands at N300 billion is adversely impacting the ability of the Discos to make capital investments in metering, network expansion, equipment rehabilitation and replacement, that are critical for service delivery.
“This is a cash liquidity crisis that threatens to completely undermine the electricity value chain and its ability to continue to serve its customers,” he said.
As the firms moves to recoup their legacy debts, ANED lamented that some military officials have started brutalising their staff on duty while trying to disconnect supply to debtors’ premises.
He called for the Federal Government’s intervention, revealing that the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are now owing the Discos about N93 billion.
On metering, Oduntan said they have metered about 3.28 million customers, thereby reducing the metering gap to 2.8 million.
“We know we have to do more on metering but we have done a lot more and we are not relenting. We are getting better at accounting for energy we receive, which will lead to more reasonable estimated bills,” he said.
Meanwhile, he decried the huge power theft in the country, noting that only about 6 million households are legitimate customers compared to Nigeria’s population.
He said the Discos have therefore embarked on enumeration exercise, which would help to discover unregistered energy users whom are currently running into millions.
“The power sector reform is a long journey and we are still at step two, so we appeal to Nigerians to bear with us. We inherited a very bad system and we are working hard to raise the standard,” he appealed.
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