By Ayedero Victor
No fewer than 26 Industrial consumers have indicated interest in getting power directly from power generating companies (Gencos) instead of distribution companies (discos) under the eligible consumers’ scheme approved by the Federal government in 2017, the government disclosed on Tuesday in Minna.
The eligible consumers regime seeks to enable large electricity consumers in the power sector to get adequate supplies directly from Power Gencos. The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola stated that 26 industrialists were ready to engage the scheme at the August 2018 edition of the monthly power sector operators meeting. He further revealed that five industrial consumers were already benefitting from the scheme.
“The eligible customer policy was introduced on May 15, 2017, and the regulations to govern it were issued by NERC on November 1, 2017. The purpose was amongst other things to improve the distribution side and facilitate better power supply to consumers who consume up to 2 megawatts and above. From reports reaching me, five industrial customers are now benefitting from the policy, and they are taking power directly from the Gencos”, said Fashola.
He noted further, ” We also have a list of 26 industrial customers who are seeking to benefit from the scheme”. He added that the Mainstream energy which operates from the Kainji and Jebba hydro-power plants had reported that it collected 100 per cent of the invoice it issued to its eligible customers in the last two months.
To get Discos in agreement with the eligible customers’ scheme, Fashola stated that he had asked the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to work out and implement competitive transmission charges as provided by law to safeguard them from any losses.
The minister further indicated that the #701 billion payment assurance guarantee, which the government approved for the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading company (NBET) has ensured the Gencos now get up to 80 per cent of their monthly invoices as his claims they got only 20 per cent before now.
” Since its implementation in 2017, recovery of payments by Gencos has increased from 20 per cent to 80 per cent, and the power supply capacity has improved from 4000 to 7000 megawatts, and there is an appetite noe for other players to participate in the generation side of the business” , he added.
On the challenges facing the sector, the minister maintained that Discos still had most of the sector’s challenges. He added that even with the introduction of the Meter Asset Providers (MAP) by the NERC, Discos were still obligated to supply meters to their customers.
” Those who know and who genuinely desire to solve problems in this industry do not need to be told that the most pressing challenge of the sector today lies at the distribution end. Among the challenges of this sector of the value chain, and there are problems in gas, generation and transmission, the most urgent are distribution of available energy to consumers, and there is an unused energy in the region of 2000 megawatts. The other ofcourse , is the supply of meters to consumers. These two issues of power distribution and supply of meters ranks highest in the feedback from stakeholders in the industry, he stated.
By Ayedero Victor