Reversing privatisation of power sector detrimental says Senate committee
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Reversing privatisation of power sector detrimental says Senate committee

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The Senate Committee on Privatisation says going back on the privatisation of the power sector as is being proposed in some quarters will be detrimental to the progress made so far.

Sen. Yahaya Abdullahi, the Vice Chairman of the committee, said this in Abuja on Thursday when he led the committee members on an oversight visit to the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).

“We believe that whatever has happened, it will be a very bad policy decision for the privatisation of the power sector to be reversed.

“We have already embarked on the journey and should not truncate it because truncating it will be worse than going ahead and correcting whatever teething problems there are.

“We believe that going forward, a lot of the problems you are experiencing today can be resolved.”

Abdullahi said that the committee was not oblivious of the challenges the company faced as it was not also deaf to the complaints of customers, but they wanted the issues resolved.

He also said that the visit was to determine the success or otherwise of the privatisation process and help where there was the need to.

He promised that the Senate would continue with the intervention it began on the issue of high debt owed by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government.

The Senator also promised that laws that would ensure the smooth operation of the power sector would be enacted.

Mr Abimbola Odubiyi, Director, Corporate Services of the company, in his presentation to the committee, said that company was working toward making Abuja an oasis of power supply.

According to him, the Abuja metropolis enjoys minimum of 18 hours power supply daily.

He said that N10 billion had been earmarked to provide 222,617 meters for mass metering which should be completed by middle of 2019.

He also said that the board had approved procurement of 7,000 transformers at N2.1 billion, adding that 630 faulty transformers were replaced at the cost of N903 million.

According to him, all of these have been achieved with various challenges ranging from increasing inflation to naira devaluation.

He said that non-payment of bills of MDAs, low customer meter roll-out, court orders on tariff reversal, non-cost reflective tariffs and dollar payment for gas were issues the company was grappling with.

“Since 2015, wholesale energy tariff has increased by 118 per cent, but AEDC tariff has only increased by 16 per cent.

“We will like the issue of tariff to be resolved so that how much we get can be enough to pay for power because we buy at a high price and sell at a low price.”

He also said that government had intervened in the power sector by ensuring that gas was being paid for in naira and not in dollars as that affected affordability of power.

Odubiyi said that in spite of these challenges,  the company was up to the task to ensure power supply to Abuja and other states it serviced.

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Updated on December 12, 2018 at 9:00 am