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Discos Pledge To Increase Electricity Supply, Seek FG Assistance

Owners of the electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) have pledged their commitment to support government to continue to make progress in its bid to provide steady electricity for Nigerians.

At the same time, they called on the Federal Government to further assist them in closing gaps that were not envisaged when they were acquiring the assets so as to reduce the criticism from the public.

Speaking on behalf of the DISCOS, a representative of Eko Disco, Ernest Orji, said they are at the receiving end in the value chain and as such receive the criticisms from the public.

“We are the ones that have direct interaction with the public, hence everyone heaps blames on us,” Orji said.

According to him, some of the gaps still existing in the sector include the non-cost reflective tariff, losses at take-over and less power produced which was envisaged to be in excess of 7,000 megawatts (mw).

He pointed out that the expected lowering of energy cost cannot be achieved as the sector is still struggling with a little above 4,000mw.

He said, “The large investment in distribution network is still a mirage as the goal-post keeps moving. It is scary as many of us cannot meet payment obligations to market operators,” Orji added.

In his remarks, Mr Godknows Igali, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, stated that the crucial meeting with chairmen of DISCOs is designed as a review platform of the activities of the distribution value-chain of the electricity industry.

Expressing happiness over the recent gains in electricity generation which now stand at 4,545mw, Igali stated that as it stands, there has been stable supply of electricity, adding that no system collapse has been recorded.

He said that the feat was made possible because security agencies have been able to reduce the menace of vandalism of pipelines supplying gas to the various thermal plants.

Igali also used the occasion to announce that power has been restored to Maiduguri, following the unfortunate incident of buried mines left behind by the fleeing Boko Haram militants in which four soldiers and four staff of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) lost their lives in line of duty.

Igali further appealed to the DISCO owners to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledge to improve power supply nationwide by ensuring massive investment to upgrade their systems and networks.

…NEMSA directs Discos to comply strictly with industry standards

Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) has directed Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOS) and Construction Companies operating to comply strictly with sector-specific minimum standards and global best practices on safety to avoid its sanctions.
Mr Peter Ewezor, Managing Director of NEMSA and Chief Electrical Inspector of the Federation, said that there were pronounced cases of impunity and technical gaps in the power and construction projects in Abuja and other parts of Nigeria.

As such, NEMSA is carrying out nationwide enforcement /advocacy visitations to sites where there are faults in power lines, railway/roads or building constructions.

He spoke in Abuja, when he inspected project sites of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (Abuja Disco) and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), the company handling Abuja rail project.

Ewezor identified some areas in FCT where there were some constructions defects and warned that the companies would be sanctioned, unless they rectify these defects.

He said with the coming into being of NEMSA Act 2015, the era of impunity (“anything goes”) is over and it would no longer be business as usual.

He said the honeymoon is over, Nigerians and stakeholders in construction and electricity sector must imbibe the culture of change in all facets of life and do the needful to avoid sanctions.

He listed the defaulting companies in the FCT to include Abuja Disco, which had many of its feeder pillars dangerously exposed, or its high tension cables so low that they could be touched.

He also listed the CCECC which built its railway line in Kubwa near a 33KV power tension.

Ewezor explained that NEMSA had written to these companies about the dangers the projects posed to human lives, adding that they would still be reminded to rectify these faults.

He reiterated that if the companies fail to amend these defective projects, then NEMSA would visit them with the full weight of the law.

Ewezor called on the companies concerned to provide what he called cradle guards or armod cables to protect the exposed high tension cables.

He enjoined Discos and construction companies operating in Nigeria to institutionalise the ideals of projects monitoring and evaluation in its governance structure in order to ensure effective monitoring of projects.

The unscheduled NEMSA site visits had in attendance, the full compliments of the Media (electronics and print), senior officials/management team of NEMSA and Consumer Rights Advocate,  Kunle Kola Olubiyo (President, Nigeria Consumer Protection Network), among others.

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