The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on Monday threatened to dissolve the boards of the electricity distribution companies over their continued poor performance since they took over the successor firms to the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria more than three years ago.
This is coming as the Federal Government has told the firms to improve their services if they must avoid losing their customers or running out of business once the generation companies start selling electricity to eligible customers.
The Commissioner, Engineering Performance, and Monitoring, NERC, Prof. Frank Okafor, said at the 16th power sector stakeholders’ meeting, “A lot of the Discos have not done well in metering people. They committed to a certain level of metering every year, but they have not done that.
“We are looking at very heavy sanctions, including calling off the boards of some Discos and replacing the boards. It is going to be as bad as that very soon because NERC has a right, just like the Central Bank of Nigeria does to the banks, to sack the boards and put in new boards.
“We cannot continue to suffer like this with power, as you know without it, we cannot do much. If we are going to impose any sanction, it is going to be based on the performance agreements they signed. There are also commitments they made in these meetings and some of them have not done much.”
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, stated that a lot of companies had started indicating interest in being served electricity as eligible customers, adding that it was up to the Discos to improve their services if they wished to retain their customer base.
He stated that an additional 790 megawatts of electricity would be added to the country’s current power generation figure before the end of the year.
Fashola told the industry operators that he was aware of the concerns of the Discos with respect to the recent declaration of eligible customers by the government, a development that empowers consumers to purchase electricity directly from the Gencos, instead of the Discos as was the case in the past.
He said, “Let me say that what I gathered from the unofficial survey that is going on, while I wait to hear from the Discos, is that there are arguments being made that it (eligible customers’ declaration) will reduce the incomes being made from maximum demand consumers of the Discos. But I think that we should see the declaration of eligible customers beyond income.“We should see it from the prism of service. Why should any customer who is benefiting from your service in an efficient way want to leave? Because those who opt to be eligible customers are going to pay more, although it will be cheaper than generating their power using diesel and petrol.”