Kaduna, Nasarawa, FCT, others in darkness as labour shut down electricity
The Federal Capital Territory, Nasarawa, Kogi, Parts of Edo, Niger, and Kaduna states have been thrown into darkness following industrial action by electricity workers.
The areas are mainly under the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company.
While the office was practically deserted in the early hour of today, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) said available bulk power meant for the DisCo could not be delivered as power evacuation from injection substations across AEDC franchise area has been disrupted.
The Deputy National President, Nigerian Labour Congress and National Secretary-General of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Joe Ajero did not immediately respond to phone calls over the development but The Guardian gathered that the strike action was necessitated by pension-related issues, liabilities, non-release of intervention fund by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and others.
While workers were prevented from entering the facility, The Guardian gathered that the intervention of the Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu is expected to provide a temporary solution to the crisis.
Privatised in 2013, the power sector, aside from failing to perform, has been in financial crisis, requiring perpetual intervention funds from the government.
Last year, CBN directed Deposit Money Banks to take charge of the collection of electricity bill payments.
A circular signed by Hassan Bello, director of banking supervision had linked the move to the recommendation of the Power Sector Coordination Working Group to improve payment discipline in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).
Distribution Companies (DisCos) are responsible for the sector’s revenue collection. While there was clamour for an increase in tariff, the sector’s inability to improve on the collection and reduce losses, a basic part of DisCos Key Performance Indicators, as well as inability to make remittance to the Bulk Electricity Trading Company almost grounded it.
Before and after the account escrow, CBN has launched a series of interventions in the power sector but there were indications that the existing ownership crisis in the utility company has been affecting the company.