The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has described the electricity distribution companies (Discos) in the country as the worst performing in West Africa.
Its Managing Director, Mr. Usman Mohammed, who disclosed this in an interview with select Energy editors in Abuja last week, hinged his claims on the outcome of a peer review workshop organised by TCN for Discos across West Africa.
Mohammed explained that all the Discos , including the eight that participated from Nigeria, all came with their Key Performance Indicators (KPls), showing how much energy was received and the amount converted to cash.
According to him, the KPls revealed that Nigerian Discos were the worst performing in West Africa in terms of the quantum of electricity they were able to convert to cash, far behind Burkina Faso that came out as the most efficient Disco.
The TCN boss said the outcome of the exercise was a major setback for the country, considering the fact that Nigeria was the only country with a liberalised power sector.
He explained that the result propelled him to visit Burkina Faso, to find out what the utility company-Sonabel was doing right that made it come out tops as the most efficient power utility firm in West Africa.
‘‘What I realized was that they don’t connect a house unless there is a meter, which means they have meters available at all times for anyone that wants to connect. Why is it that we don’t have meters here? If you look at Maitama in Abuja, where the rich live, it is about 98 per cent metered, while places where the poor live like Mararaba, you discover that less than 20 per cent are metered.
“If the salary of a poor man is N50, 000 and for any reason, he must consume electricity. And he consumes N30, 000 for that month, I can assure you that he will switch it on and off at the appropriate time to ensure that he doesn’t spend more than N10,000 for the next month and that’s what we are saying.’’
Mohammed said all what was needed by the Discos was for them to inject more funds into their operations to enable them compete favourably and deliver on their mandate to better the lot of Nigerians and businesses.
He said a sustainable solution to the challenges confronting the distribution arm of the power sector value chain was for them to recapitalise in order to have more access to funds.
The power expert posited that TCN has installed over 40 power transformers in less than two years, while it has expanded the grid capacity from 5000MW to 8100 MW as at December 2018, when it conducted its last simulation.
‘‘You hear some associations say we are lying. But tell them to bring their own evidence that we are lying. We don’t just announce any figure, even as the Managing Director of TCN, unless it is validated by the system planning unit with credible evidence to show that this is what is happening.
“But when we have several associations, there will be distortions. These associations are formed to create distortions and protect their own people who are paying them.”