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NERC, electricity firms on war path over poor performance



Senate ‎says power companies bankrupt

A new crisis that may further worsen electricity supply in Nigeria is brewing, with a faceoff between the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and service providers.

It was gathered that an evaluation/assessment report carried out by the regulatory agency, which scored the various power generating firms (Gencos) and distribution companies (Discos) below 30 per cent, coupled with a series of fines on some have not gone down well with the companies.

The report, made available on Monday said for two years, covering 2013 and 2014, of the 37 Discos, only 10 had recorded some impressive performance of 45 per cent, while the rest came below 40 per cent with majority falling within the 30 per cent mark.

It named the poor performing firms to include the Afam Power Plc and the Eko Electricity Distribution Company.

As if that is not enough, NERC said it has imposed some fines, totaling $4.2 million on eight Discos for breaching some regulation guidelines in 2016 alone.

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But in a swift reaction, the operators said they were being compelled by the government to close shop.

A spokesperson of the operators Ms Helen Okuno, said both government agencies and departments were not supporting the Discos and Gencos to perform optimally.

She lamented thus: “A situation whereby over N60 billion in bills are unsettled by the various minstrels,department and agencies, particularly military and police barracks, and still fines are imposed on our members speaks volumes.

According to Okuno, the performance evaluation report, which was carried out without any input of the operators was also doctored by some interest groups to suit their purpose.

She contended that the said report should not be taken as reflecting the challenges that the operators were facing.

The most disturbing issue, raised by the firms is their difficulty in sourcing foreign currency to embark on major repairs of their equipment, which despite appeals to government for assistance is still unresolved.

Nigeria’s economic growth has been slowed by lack of steady power supply, despite claims by government of embarking on privatisation of the sector, which has divided the former PHCN into different components: Gencos, Discos and TCN with the promise to double power generation from its present 4.5 mega watts.

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