By Tunji Ayanwale
The Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola has announced the vacation of court case on electricity tariff. This was disclosed during his presentation at the quarterly dinner of Peteoleum Club held at Metropolitan club.Fashola said that the Court of Appeal has reversed the decision of the Federal High Court which stopped the implementation of the last tariff review. Stating that for reliable electricity, the reality of tariffs and possible upward or downward reviews must be accepted. The minister also said that citizens must stop going to court to get injunctions to stop tariff review as electricity tariff is proposed by distribution companies (DisCos) after consultation with their customers, and then approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) during a major review.
He said: “No one has demonstrated to me that the tariff is not possible . The privatization was conducted on the assumption that there were six million households consuming energy in Nigeria. Out of this six million, only about three million has been metred so far. Those are the three million who paid the whole energy cost with or without metre. So, at the current tariff what will happen if we collect from Five million people? And what will happen if we enumerate 12 million people because they were without tariff and collected from 9 million of them. So, the argument that the Tariff is not cost effective and we were just imposing and forcing it on just this section who we can catch is what I want to interrogate in more details.
Fashola also revealed that there have been reforms put in place to work in the power sector. This, he said is consistent with an incremental power with the main focus on how to optimise high rate capacity that is already stored and then the best out of them.” As more power is expected, plans are rolled out on transmission process,” he disclosed.
He revealed that the ministry has resolved to use all sustainable energy sources like hydro, gas, wind, solar and coal to boost electricity generation. This, according to him is ongoing. “There is power coming from Katsina which is 10 MW wind plant, it was a project that was just left there it couldn’t be concluded, securities issues also affected it but we are back on track now. We have about ten of the wind plant up and running. So, we are running to complete it hopefully this year.,he said.
He added that there is need to complete the transmission line for the Gurara power 30MW plant. This, he said is beside 40MW plant at Kashimbilla in Taraba. “The dam the dam has been completed. It is just budgeting and financing issues again to complete the transmissions stations to get it up and running. There is Azura 450MWplant at the famous Azura dam in Edo. It is coming up straight late this year or early next year. Also Afam plant is generating 240MW and 3,500 MW from Mambilla hydro that the work will start later this year,” Fashola assured.
The minister said that the generation of power is only the beginning of the power value chain. For this power to reach homes, it has to be transported. This transmission system and the National Grid co-ordinates eight transmission regions with 183 substations from the National control centre in Oshogbo.
Speaking further, the minister said that the grid has not been highjacked by anybody, rather it is under management by Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). Ne insisted that it is impossible to highjack the grid.
Speaking at the event, Fashola made emphasis on the importance of Metre as tool as tool for helping to monitor what is consumed. He also said the ministry is approving service providers for metering and will get into agreement with Discos. “This will be implemented in a way that ensures that revenue of Discos will not be jeopardised and their investment is returned,” he said.
The minister noted that his assumption was even wrong, he stated that many Nigerians are paying cost reflective tariffs through their generators, solar, inverter. “Discos are supposed to issue metres because they are the ones that really needs the metres to measure what they are selling but we have got it wrong perhaps with the assumption that Discos are the only companies that can issue electricity meters.
He said: “The law actually provides that within a distribution area where Disco ‘A’ has the license, the government can license another person to carry out a related business. So, what we are doing now is while the Discos continue with their Metering, we are creating service providers for metering. We will get into agreement with Discos, in a way that ensures that revenue of Discos will not be jeopardised and their investment is returned.
“ NERC is working out the regulations that will make this possible. There is also the opportunity for Discos themselves to issue approval to service providers as franchise electricity bill collector. These are policies that will be announced as we go forward.
“We will be meeting with the Discos to consult with them to tell them this is coming and have told them this will happen with or without them but I will like to do it with them”, Fashola promised.