FG Orders Sale Of IBEDC, Four Other Discos Within 90 Days

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The Federal Government has ordered the resale of electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) now under the management of banks and the Asset Management Company (AMCON) within the next 90 days to reputable power operators as part of its current drive to improve power supply nationwide.

The order was given by the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, when members of the Senate Committee on Power visited his ministry on Monday in furtherance of their legislative oversight roles.

Adelabu, who threatened that very soon tough decisions would be taken on the DisCos for their inadequacies in the power value chain, listed the DisCos for resale as Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO), Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), Kaduna Electric, and Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED).

The minister recalled that the government in conjunction with Fidelity Bank and AMCON in a move to save the companies from insolvency, among other reasons, in 2022 took over their affairs.

Specifically, the Minister explained that the latest decision by the government to resell the entities became imperative due to their continued poor performance given the attendant negative implications for the  Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

Adelabu maintained that the ministry would prevail on the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to revoke the licences of under-performing DisCos and also change the management board of the DisCos if that will serve the industry best

He said: “Lastly, on distribution. Very soon you will see that tough decisions will be taken on the DisCos. They are the last lap of the sector. If they don’t perform, the entire sector is not performing.

“The entire ministry is not performing. We have put pressure on NERC, which is their regulator to make sure they raise the bar on regulation activities. If they have to withdraw licenses for non-performance, why not? If they have to change the board of management, why not?

“And all the DisCos that are still under AMCON and Banks, within the next three months, they must be sold to technical power operators with good reputations in utility management.

“We can no longer afford AMCON to run our DisCos. We can no longer afford the banks to run our DisCos. This is a technical industry and it must be run by technical experts”, the minister added.

Adelabu disclosed that efforts were ongoing to bridge the nation’s metering gap in the next four to five years.

According to him, the Federal Government had mobilized a company –  Messrs Zigglass – with $200 million to supply three million meters that were yet to be supplied to date, querying that “if you held N32 billion for these years, where is the interest”?

Similarly, he disclosed that the President had also directed that the contract be revoked, adding that the funding is coming from a seed capital of N100  billion and N75 billion.

The Chairman of Senate Committee on Power, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who was in company of some members of the committee, including Senators Danjuma Goje, Simon Lalong and Osita Izunaso, said the committee was on an oversight function and familiarisation tour to the Federal Ministry of Power in Abuja.

On the issue of the new Band A tariff hike, the lawmaker disclosed that the Senate had summoned the minister of power, Adebayo Adelabu, and the top echelon of the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to appear before it for an investigative hearing on the recent electricity tariff hike in the country.

He said: “The Senate has already authorised an investigative hearing scheduled for the 29th of April, 2024. The major agencies of government will answer questions.

“We have summoned the NERC. We will give them an opportunity to speak about the electricity tariff hike. The minister of power is, of course, expected to appear too”, Abaribe added.

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