Why we can’t provide meters to all houses, businesses, by Discos
Nnaji, Soludo, Ekechukwu, others restate need for affordable, reliable electricity
The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) has attributed the inability of electricity distribution companies (DisCos) to provide prepaid meters to private homes and commercial premises to the prevailing liquidity crisis in the sector.
Following lack of provision of meters to electricity end-users, DisCos have resorted to estimated billings, which had generated protests and rejection by the public due to excessive bills far beyond actual consumption.
The ANED Director of Research and Advocacy, Sunny Oduntan, told The Guardian on phone that apart from the liquidity crisis hindering DisCos from metering customers, the estimated billings were in line with the methodology given to them by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
He said: “First of all, it is in our interest as DisCos to meter all our customers. When we meter our customers, we will be able to measure what they consume or use.
“Now, our inability to meter all our customers or everybody is due to the liquidity crisis. But as I speak with you, we are making all possible efforts to speed up and increase our metering roll-out and we believe that that is the answer to all agitations against estimated billings.
“I also need to add that estimated billing is factored in line with the estimated billing methodology given to us by NERC, so we don’t just sit down and formulate figures.”
Meanwhile, experts in the power sector have stated that reliable and affordable power was critical to the country’s quest to become one of the most industrialised nations of the world. They said many states in the country lacked the financial capacity to invest in power generation.
A former Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji; former Governor of Central Bank, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and power expert, Prof. Val Ekechukwu, who spoke in Enugu during the third edition of the Big Ideals Podium of the African Heritage Institution, with the theme, “Electricity: Key Ingredient to Nigeria’s Economic Development and Unity”, also suggested the need to set up regional grid structure for management of power than the current structure where all parts of the country rely on national grid for the power needs.
Nnaji noted that uninterrupted power supply would go a long way in ensuring the return of lasting peace, unity and stability in the polity, stressing that with increasing rate of unemployment, coupled with the absence of reliable electricity to power the manufacturing sector, the youths easily resort to all forms of crimes and agitations.
Soludo, who chaired the event, said the outcome would be circulated to stakeholders in the sector, noting that “to transform the country, those who know must have capacity to multi-task.”
He appealed to the relevant authorities to ensure the take-off of the Aba Geometric Power, which had been ready in the past three years.