NERC to blame for failure of DISCOs – Power Minister

Minister of Power Mr Saleh Mamman
Minister of Power Mr Saleh Mamman

NERC to blame for failure of DISCOs – Power Minister: The Minister of Power, Saleh Maman, has stated that the Nigeria Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC), and not his ministry should be held responsible for failure of the electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to discharge their responsibilities.

The minister stated this Wednesday during the 2021 budget defence meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Power, while admitting before the panel that it appeared the DISCOs were not investing enough in the distribution infrastructure of the electricity sector.

“It is a matter of law. It is the responsibility of NERC to look into the issue (poor distribution), because there are penalties if they (DISCOs) are not discharging their responsibilities. It is NERC that will come in and pass the judgement”, he said, adding however that the DISCOs have also been blaming the government for certain things they wanted to be in place.

Though the committee rejected the ministry’s 2020 budget performance analysis on grounds that no columns were provided for “contract sums” and “releases made” for ongoing projects, Maman who was allowed to take questions from members stated that the Kashimbila power plant has been operational because transmission line was not yet in place.

“The dam has been completed, with a plant that has capacity to generate 40 megawatts into national grid, but what we are waiting for is the transmission line,” he said.

Read also: CBN Direct Banks to Take over Collection of Electricity Bills from Discos

Giving insight into the general power situation in the  country, the minister said in spite of multiple challenges in the sector, there have been “significant improvement as recorded by the National Control Centre, Oshogbo of the highest energy generation per day in the Nigerian electricity market, of 112,488 MWh (on April 8, 2020), while the national grid also recorded 5,420MW on 17 September, 2020.

“This indicates an improvement of quality and reliable supply of electricity to Nigerians,” he submitted.

On the 2021 budget, Maman stated that the ministry proposed a total of N204.347 billion aggregate expenditure, out of which N4.904 billion would go for personnel cost, N1.164 billion for overhead, and the balance of N196.279 would go for capital expenditure.

Chairman of the committee, Hon. Aliyu Magaji, had earlier in his remarks insisted the movement of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) to the Federal Ministry of Finance was unacceptable to the panel.

“As far as we are concerned, NBET still remains in the Ministry of Power. Yes, the president has the prerogative, but there are legal ways of doing things,” he said.

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