By Omodele Adigun
As Nigerians battle with unstable power supply, two countries, Niger and Benin Republics have paid $159.8million for power in Nigeria just as the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED)has been accused of misleading the public.
This came to light Monday in Jos at the 15th monthly meeting of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, with operators of the Power Sector, In the Communique issued at the end of the meeting, the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET), reported that two international customers, Republic of Niger and Benin Republic paid about $159.8million for power in Nigeria.
The Communique states: “NBET reported on international customer payments, stating NIGELEC (Republic of Niger) and CEB (Republic of Benin) had made payments for power of $159,773, 116.61 (with a combined balance still outstanding of $92,315,986.20). The payments have been duly remitted to the Generating Companies and Service Providers who had provided the generation and transmission services”
The powelines that collapsed on football fans at a viewing centre last April 20 also took a centre stage at the meeting as it was resolved that buildings and structures built beneath ‘high tension’ power lines be disconnected from power supply systems as already issued by NEMSA to DisCos for reasons of safety.
“The meeting enjoined the public to halt the practice of illegally constructing structures beneath and illegally connecting to power lines, as this practice increases the risk of electrical accidents. Prioritisation of investment in education and communication on electrical safety measures through the creation of a task force within the sector, with a plan to work with state governors to reduce accidents were encouraged as a course of action,” the Communique read.
The Communique also lamented that providing correct sector information to the public has not been achieved due to inaccurate information disseminated by the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED). “Providing correct sector information to the public has not been achieved, due to inaccurate information disseminated by the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED).”
ANED was said to have made incorrect statements regarding the plan to escrow accounts, which Distribution Companies themselves had agreed to as a condition before accessing low priced loans from the Federal Government of Nigeria. By failing to mention the fact that the conditions of these loans are not mandatory, but are terms of the credit facility, information advertised by ANED were stated to be misleading”.
The meeting also focused on identifying, discussing, and finding practical solutions to critical issues facing the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry
The meeting noted that the failure of DisCos to remit payment as owed to NBET led to the approval by the Federal Government of N701billion Payment Assurance Guarantee to Generating Companies, to fill the payment gap.