Electricity outage disrupts Senate power probe

house of assembly

Hearing on the power sector was disrupted not less than eight times yesterday as the Senate Committee investigating the sector was having its last session for the year, resulting to an embarrassing resort to recharge lamps and flashlights.

The Senate Ad- Hoc Committee session with stakeholders of the power sector started at about 11:30am and ended abruptly at 4:00 pm due to 10-15 minute-long power interruptions from 2pm when the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, was making a submission on behalf of the various electricity companies.

Other critical stakeholders of the sector caught in the power outage drama while making presentations were the Director- General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Benjamin Ezreal Dikki, the Chairman of National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Sam Amadi, and some of the managing directors of electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs).

Chairman of the Committee, Abubakar Kyari (APC Borno North), was not spared, as he was also interrupted by the series of power outages while commenting on issues raised by some of the stakeholders.

Worried by the ugly development, Kyari, after the session, told journalists that the committee would investigate what led to the power outages during the session.

“The power outages experienced here today further underscores the relevance of this committee at this critical time but we shall investigate whether they are deliberate or not,” he said.

He added that the public hearing proper on the sector will hold in due course.

Earlier, investors in the sector in their various submissions lamented that they are running at great losses on monthly basis due to a myriad of factors.

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Managing Director of Enugu Distribution Company, Mr Robert Dickerman who spoke on behalf of all the Distribution Companies (DENCOs), said the entire industry is being run at a deficit of N20 billion per month.

This, Dickerman said, is due to over 50 % of electricity consumption not metered and about 30%, not even on the billings system of the service providers.

He alleged that the promised N100billion subsidy injection into the sector by the Federal Government was not fulfilled.

But the BPE Director-General, Benjamin Dikki, said the Central Bank of Nigeria has paid N5 billon of the N100 billion promised by the government.

He, however, admitted that the sector is presently being run at a loss by the investors.

He explained that the losses at initial stages were envisaged as embedded in the performance agreement reached with the investors.

In his own presentation, the Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Sam Amadi, refuted allegations that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) will soon be privatised by the Federal Government.

According to him, government has no such plans because of the sensitivity of that particular component of the sector. pendent companies.

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