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‘Electricity discos suffer N8 billion deficit monthly’

power21• Ikeja Electric needs 1,250mw to improve power supply, says IKEDC boss

THE Managing Director of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC), Mr. Abiodun Ajifowobaje, has said that the nation’s electricity distribution companies (discos) have been incurring about N8 billion deficit monthly due to non-cost reflective tariff operated in the country.

He said some of the Discos are now groaning under intense pressure of meeting their energy needs and improving on the obsolete power equipment inherited from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

Ajifowobaje, who disclosed this during an official visit to The Guardian Headquarters in Lagos on Tuesday, said the IKEDC still suffers huge energy deficit even with the recent increase in supply profile.

He stated that the company actually needed 1,250 megawatts (mw) to meet the energy requirement of its customers, but is currently receiving about 450mw. “So, we still have a long way to go”, he declared.

The Ikeja Electric chief executive officer, who applauded The Guardian for its reliable reports, said all hands must be on deck by all stakeholders to bring normalcy to the power sector, noting that the present tariff structure operated in the country is not cost-reflective and has continued to cause a deficit of about N8 billion monthly for the discos.

This, he said, has posed some financial challenges to the investors who had signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the intention of bringing massive investment into play while the government is also expected to ensure a cost-reflective tariff.

While applauding the N213 billion bail-out fund approved by the Federal Government for the operators, he, however, lamented that a significant amount of the fund was not disbursed to the operators.

He said despite these issues, the Ikeja Disco has mapped out plans to improve on its infrastructure, especially on the adequate technology for metering customers.

Ajifowobaje, who said the IKEDC has adopted new Automatic Metering Infrastructure (AMI), which has the ability to detect manipulations and ultimately reduce the prevailing power theft in the system, noted that the nation would need about five million meters to cover all customers nationwide.

He said the company has planned to install about 300,000 meters in a roll-out plan that would commence next month, adding that no fewer than 15,000 customers would be metered monthly under the scheme.

He also unveiled the company’s plans to meter all customers in the network within three years, as against the five-year period provided under the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) laws.

The Ikeja Disco boss, who attributed the improved electricity supply in the country to steady gas supply to power plants, said the pipeline sabotage has reduced and oil and gas companies now appear to be fully complying with the gas to domestic market regulations of the government.

“The generation capacity is now at about 9,000mw, but what we are actually generating is about 4,500mw, leaving the remaining 4,500mw redundant. But I believe that by the time we get more gas, the generation will further improve and the better for the nation,” he said.



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