The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on Friday threatened to withdraw the licences of non-performing power generation companies in the country.
The Commissioner in charge of Legal Licence and Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye, handed down the warning during a stakeholders’ meeting on the Lagos State Embedded Power Programme held at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, led members of the state executive council, lawmakers and other stakeholders to the meeting.
Akpaneye said the commission was monitoring the licensed generation companies to see when the power they promised to add to national grid would come on stream.
He said the commission would not hesitate to withdraw the licences from those who were not utilising them, and allocate them to others who were in position to do so.
He said, “We have issued over 100 generation licences and we are going to monitor the execution very seriously. We are going to monitor to see when the 3,000MW you promised the grid will come on stream.
“The licences we issued are not meant to be traded. So anyone with a NERC licence and has tucked it in his drawer somewhere and has not done anything with it, the commission is going to monitor what you have done with those licences.
“If you are not on course, we will withdraw our licences from you and give them to people who can use them appropriately.”
Akpaneye stated that Nigeria could no longer continue to run its economy with between 3,800 megawatts and 4,500MW of electricity.
He said the key to unlocking the country’s development was in the power sector.
The NERC commissioner urged the power distribution companies to also address the issue of metering, which he described as very disappointing.
He said the situation had made many Nigerians to believe that they were paying for darkness.
“People are not happy with the estimated billing methodology that the Discos rely on. Everybody wants to be metered and we need to ensure that Nigerian customers are properly metered,” he stated.
The commissioner added that distribution companies needed to carry out significant investments on their networks.
He noted that during a trip in May, he discovered that the investment in the network that needed to be done to supply Ikoyi, Victory Island and Lekki in Lagos were not in place.
“So, if we cannot sell power to people in Ikoyi, Victory Island and Lekki, who are we going to sell power to? So, the investments that need to be done to improve the distribution networks, we need to get the Discos to start looking into them,” he added.
Akpaneye also said the firms needed to do more to address customers’ complaints.
He regretted that the relationship between the Discos and their customers was tensed because they did not feel their issues get attended to when they complain.
The commissioner also stressed the need for Discos to address the issue of customers’ enumeration.
He said, “We need to address the issue of customer enumeration, because the customers number that the commission is seeing from the distribution companies from Lagos State is not reflective of current realities.
“As of today, it is on our records that we have about 1.2 million electricity customers in Lagos. I have lived in Lagos all my life and I don’t think there is anywhere in Lagos that does not have a pole and a line.”
He added, “I don’t think there is any house in Lagos that is not connected to the grid, even in remote shanty towns like Makoko, former Marako, are all connected to the grid.
“We will not accept the current enumeration numbers and we need to make sure that the numbers are truly reflective of what is on ground today in Lagos State.”
Akpaneye said NERC was already working with the National Assembly to address electricity theft.
He added that Nigerians must be made to appreciate electricity as an essential resource that needed to be paid for.