EKEDC optimistic about government’s N100bn power sector support fund
Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc says the planned N100bn government support for the power sector will go a long way in bettering the fortunes of DisCos, if released.
The power firm, which identified illiquidity as a major challenge facing operators, maintained that there is the need the support funding as banks have refused to lend to the sector due to its high debt profile.
The company made its intentions known when the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy visited its headquarters on oversight function in Lagos.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, EKEDC, Mr Adeoye Fadeyibi, said though the liquidity challenge was grave, the DisCo would continue to work towards delivering on its mandate, as discontinuing business was not an option.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, Mr. Enyinnaya Abaribe, also admitted that the country’s power sector was in a critical state, and needed serious intervention.
He said one of the objectives of the visit was to seek clarification on the issues bedeviling the nation’s power sector after the handover of the successor companies carved out of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria to private investors in November 2013.
Abaribe said: “It is also going to help us in policy formulation because we are also going to interact with the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing; the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and with other relevant agencies. Clarification of issues is very necessary for us to understand exactly what is going on.
“Now, why we are here is to be sure; if the privatisation is not working, why is it not working, who is at fault, what are the things that are supposed to be done, and those are the answers that we have come to seek, and, of course, Nigerians will get everything that will help them in making a good decision about whether it was a very good decision or not.”
According to the senator, the committee is interacting with the power providers to ensure the resolution of the problems, including electricity theft, facing them in the interest of the Nigerian public.
He stated, “We are quite satisfied with what we have heard; we now know that DisCos are operating under tremendous difficulties. It is a regulated industry, which means that you cannot charge more than what the government says you should charge.
“That is what we want to let Nigerians know; that there are some things that are in this regulated industry, which we need to resolve and it is the resolution that has brought us here.”
Reacting, the EKEDC boss said: “We are in this together, and we must solve the issues because there are contractual obligations to fulfil by the government and the private investors.
For Eko Disco, we are encouraged with the fact that the chairman of the Senate committee commended us for the improvement that he saw. He was obviously impressed by what we have done and wants us to continue to do more of what we are doing well.
“The Lagos area covers about 45 per cent of the total national consumption; hence, the importance of the area to our business. We are committed to metering every customer and addressing the problem of estimated billing. Our concern is the Nigerian people and their happiness.
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