Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Key players in the electricity sub-sector, generation companies (GENCOs), distribution companies (DISCOs) and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) have continued to accuse one another over the lingering poor electricity supply in the country.
While the GENCOs accuse the DISCOs of unseriousness, coupled with TCN’s inability to transmit electricity due to inadequate and obsolete infrastructure, TCN said that debt overhang is militating against the efficient power supply by DISCOs.
According to Tony Elumelu, chairman of Transcorp Ughelli Power, some of the DISCOs have not shown seriousness since the privatisation of the sub-sector.
“I believe the GENCOs have demonstrated capabilities, some of the DISCOs in my viewpoint, I do not see seriousness and so government should engage more with these DISCOs and see how a marshal plan can be put in place.
“It is unfortunate, may be the wrong people bought some of these DISCOs. People who have capacity should own the DISCOs. The generating companies are reeling and suffering, there is a limit to how far we can subsidise the system because that to me is what is happening today,” he said.
However, the managing director of Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited, owners of Kainji and Jebba GENCOs, Lamu Audu, believes it was ironical that power generation companies like Mainstream were suffering losses due to unutilised power, while Nigerians had no power to run their businesses and for domestic uses. “I think TCN should answer because they are the ones taking the energy from us and giving to the DISCO’s but if the DISCOs are not utilising it they will know better than anybody else. The DISCOs can deny but TCN should have the records to tell us what is happening to the energy that we are generating, simple question. Why has the frequency been high?”’ he asked.
Also, Kikelomo Owoeye, Brand and Communication Manager of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, IBEDC, believes TCN cannot meet the expectations of Nigerians even if generation doubles. According to Owoeye, notwithstanding the challenges of energy theft and vandalism, most of the equipment to produce and distribute the required energy are obsolete.
“On our transmission, even if the GENCOs generate enough megawatts or gigawatts as the case may be, the equipment at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) cannot wheel out all the required supply. “There are challenges on the equipment; most of them are obsolete,” she said.
But Bede Opara, general manager in charge of Transmission at TCN, believes that DISCOs have not been able to pay their debts due to energy theft and other issues. “The low revenue collection affects transmissions as well as gas plants. All these are parts of the issues affecting the sector at one point or the other.” Opara explained that most of the equipment TCN planned to use for construction work have been abandoned at the ports for between five to eight years. Opara further explained that DISCOs need to improve their monthly remittances failure which their accounts could be escrowed and their security deposits called up in the event of any default. It would be recalled that GENCOs sometime ago threatened to shut down their turbines as a result of huge market debts. Some have even gone to court to get relief.