Power Minister Babatunde Fashola has pledged to unveil his energy policy when next he addresses the media. The policy will holistically show the direction of the government in solving the problems of the power sector in the short and long terms. He has also mandated the distribution companies to significantly improve service delivery.
Fashola said this during his second monthly meeting with operators in the electricity industry in Lagos. He said: “I will come to energy policy, much more later when I do my second press briefing. All of you in the media owe a bigger responsibility now to enlighten people. Everybody must know how power is produced, because the problem is still with us, gas, transmission, and the way the privatisation exercise was conducted. But I will not lament what has happened in the past, I will move with it.”
He continued: “When we took over and assessed the situation, nobody was happy with it. This is a problem that has been here for 16 years if you it put mildly, and 100 years ago, if you put it really extremely. I have been here for less than hundred days, and I think we can solve this problem if you give us the tools that we need to do it. I think this problem can be solved and the day I feel it cannot be solved, I will tell you I don’t think it will work.”
According to Fashola, the most important thing is for Nigerians to access power when they need it and not just mentioning megawatts. He said: “The simplest thing to do is to commit to megawatts, but even if I have 1,000Mw only on the grid, can people access it? As for megawatts, we now have over 5,000Mw, and we are calibrating there. I don’t want to discuss megawatts, but Nigerians will see incremental power output if everybody allows stability to stay. Once you shock this system, gas will hold on, generation companies (GenCos) will hold, contracts are stalled and debts will mount again. Because the person that takes gas will not return it, he must push it out, so people must understand how fragile this system even at the best of time can be.”
On metering, the minister gave targets to the DisCos. Eko DisCo was mandated to install 90,000 by end of June and 150, 000 by December, while Ikeja DisCo is 120,000 and 220,000 within the same timeframe.
Others are Kano DisCo 40,000 and 100,000; Yola DisCo 30,000 and 75,000; Jos DisCo 45,000 and 120,000; Benin DisCo 18,000 and 36,000 having 200,000 cleared with Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and Port Harcourt DisCo 75,000 and 150,000, all within the same timeframe.