Expert lists reasons why Nigeria is still in darkness

A stakeholder in Nigeria’s power sector, Dr. Chukwueloka Umeh at the weekend listed the reasons why Nigeria’s power sector is still unable to provide stable electricity for the country.

Dr. Umeh, who is the CEO of Century Power Generation Company disclosed that the infrastructural deficit owed power generation companies (GenCos) by power distribution companies (DisCos) is one such factors limiting the growth of the sector.

He added that the bane of the industry include lack of provision of the right infrastructure by the Federal Government, absence of policy directions for operators to follow and funding among others. He said stakeholders are, however, awaiting the government to take the lead in ensuring that the sector moves forward.

According to him, key stakeholders such as the Ministry of Power and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) should provide an environment that would enable power distribution companies generate enough revenue for investment purposes, adding that by so doing, they will find it easier to meet their obligations to the consumers.

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Umeh said: “The government agency should allow the DisCos to make money in order to make timely payments to the power generation companies (GenCos) for the gas supplied to them by the gas companies. Once the DisCos are allowed to make money to cover their investment, they would be able to solve metering and other problems facing them.”

According to him, banks are willing to provide funds to operators, once the government has shown a considerable level of commitment in the industry.

“Banks are not in business in order to give money to people freely. They are in business in order to improve their profitability, get enough shareholders’ value and help contribute to the growth of the Nigerian economy. They are not ready to lose money. So also is Century Power Limited. Banks are only waiting for the government to make the energy (sector) work.”

The Federal Government had provided a bail-out of N700billion to operators in the power sector about two years ago. Though the money was meant to strengthen the operation of the power generation and distribution firms, but the problems persist.

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