[UPDATE] Power: FG threatens to throw out DisCos

• As FEC okays augmentation for road, water projects

The Federal Government has threatened to throw out Power Distribution Companies (DisCos) following their inability to improve distribution in the country.

The government is angry that despite doling out about N1.7 trillion to the companies, they are only able to distribute 3,000mw out of about 10,000mw generated.

The Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, said this while briefing State House correspondents after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday.

He noted that while the DisCos were collecting the 3,000mw, they were only paying for 1,000mw.

The minister said the companies must show that they have the capacity to give power to Nigerians or leave, so the that those who can do it would be engaged.

He said the government cannot continue to subside the companies without commensurate result.

Hassan disclosed that he has put before the FEC a way out of the situation, but gave no further detail hoping that the council will approve his plan.

Lamenting the lack of capacity of the DisCos, he said: “That is what we are saying, government cannot continue to subsiding because what they doing is that they collect 3,000 megawatts and pay for only 1,000 megawatts. That is 15 per cent of what they are collecting.

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“So, government is the one completing the payment. So, we cannot continue like that. So, if they are ready to continue, fine but if they are not ready to continue maybe they should give way to whoever that is ready to come and invest.

“So, we are asking government to review and see, if they are capable fine but if they are not capable they should give way.”

The minister explained: “The DisCos are the ones manning the distribution, that is why I have submitted my observations to the government. It is left for the government that will have to decide.

“We just have to sit and see whether they are capable, have the technical know-how because most of the problems we are having today are the loss, technical loss and commercial loss.

“They will give you light and may not collect your money or they will collect the money and pocket, or they may send light and you may not have good sub-station that may collect this power and distribute to customers.

“This has been our major problem and it is the responsibility of the DisCos to take care of that end.”

He reiterated that the problem of power supply in the country was distribution, which he said the government was determined to do something about.

He added: “What I want to say is that most of the problem we are facing in this country that we cannot get electricity supplied adequately and efficiently is because we have a problem in distribution.

“Generation, no more problem. We can generate up to 13,000 megawatts but the transmission, those who are taking the electricity supply can only take 7,000 megawatts, even at that they are not taking the whole 7,000 megawatts but only 4,500 megawatts and then send to distribution, the distribution, in turn, receives only 3,000 megawatts.

“Because of the technical and commercial reasons, they cannot contain the whole power that has been generated.

“So, we have to correct the infrastructure. That is why I said that today, I submitted my observation to council and I believe the government is on it.

“One of the things I will tell you is that government has signed memorandum of understanding with the German government, Siemen. They are to align between distribution and transmission and also generation. So that at the end of the day if we generate 13,000 megawatts, transmission will take the whole 13,000 and will distribute same. That way, Nigerians will be happy and everyone will have 24/7 electricity supply.”

Mamman had given FEC the performance report of his ministry from the date he was sworn in.

He said: “We presented achievements right from the day we took oath of office to date. We want to tell Nigerians what we achieved in the value chains. Nigeria can generate up to 13,000 megawatts of electricity but we cannot transmit all.

“So, today we presented to the council the solution to the problem of our generation. It is mainly distribution. We can transmit, we can generate 13,000 megawatts, we train it 7,000 megawatts but can only distribute 3,000. There is a lot of work to be done in transmission companies and the government is now willing to take up the matter immediately.”

The Minister of State for Works, Abubakar Aliyu, said FEC approved the ministry’s request for the augmentation of the Benin-Adumagbe-Igba-Akure Road in Edo and Ondo States.

“We have reviewed the contract from the original sum of N3,297,221,221.90 to N4,770,188,497, inclusive of VAT and tax, an increase of about N1.48 billion,” he said.

The contract was awarded in December 2013.

Also, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, said his ministry got the council’s approval for variation and augmentation for Tada Shonga Irrigation Project in Shonga in Kwara State.

The augmentation is for N6.9 billion, raising the project from the original sum of N3.263 billion to N10.18 billion, with the completion period of 36 months.

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