Power: FG, states must provide enabling environment — EKDC boss

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Engr Oladele Amoda, CEO of Eko Electricity Distribution Company is a key player in the power sector. In this interview with National Daily, he speaks about the immense opportunities in the power sector waiting to be tapped by investors. Excerps:

WHAT would you considered as the most challenging aspects of Nigeria’s utility privatization process?
They are many, most were actually inherited. For instance, the inadequate power from the national grid was a legacy problem which persisted after privatization due to inadequate gas supply and low water level at the hydro power stations.
Others include lingering transmission bottlenecks, poor customer metering with less than 50% of customers not having functional meters, customer’s apathy to payment, the non-reflective tariff and unfavourable regulatory environment that exposes the infant companies to unnecessary liquidity problem.

What do you think should be the role of Government in a privately controlled power industry?
Federal and State Governments should provide enabling environment for the power industry to stabilized and grow. Tax incentives, waivers and other necessary support should be offered by government to the investors so as to make electricity tariff affordable to the customers.

What measures have put in place at ensuring that your customers get metered?
We have a smart metering projects contract that was recently awarded, when completed, it will enhance the EKDC opportunity to automate the monitoring and operations of the distribution network and metering facilities in real time.
Already, we have started the installation of the meters. We are equally embarking on GIS and Customer Enumeration projects which entail asset mapping, customer capture and identification, and these will be integrated with AMR/AMI Smart Metering and SCADA System.

What has been the most surprising about the Nigerian utility privatization process so far?
The most surprising about the privatization process of the Nigeria utility was the overwhelming interest shown by the investors despite the dilapidated state of the power infrastructure. The successful wholesale privatization, and smooth transfer of all GENCO and DISCO assets in the most transparent manner with seamless integration of select legacy staff from public service to private sector.

What is your vision for the power industry?
My vision for the industry is to have a situation whereby electricity will be delivered safely, consistently, and in the right quality to all customers who will happily pay for the electricity.

Giving a perspective from the private sector about doing business in this sector, what will be your advice to other investors?
Power sector in Nigeria is fast developing. The initial challenges are being surmounted and the investment opportunities are vast. There are ready investment opportunities in metering, electricity vending, energy card services, electricity retailing, embedded generation, and transmission infrastructures.
There are other potential investment opportunities in renewable energy derivable from large deposit of coal, Sun light for solar power, and unhindered stream of wind for wind turbine and lots of generated waste (biomass) for power generation.