The Senate has criticised the privatisation of Nigeria’s power sector, saying the model adopted in the transfer from public to private operators has failed.
The Senate, on Wednesday, therefore, called for a review of the privatisation process to maximise the capacity of the power sector.
The lawmakers, while speaking on a motion by Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi/Kogi West) titled ‘DISCOSs, Electricity Consumers and the Burden of Overbilling,’ lamented the failure of the power sector even after it had been privatised.
Seconding the motion, Senator Bukar Mustapha (Katsina/Katsina North) stated that the problem with the sector was inefficiency.
He said, “The problem we have is the inefficiency within the system which we have actually, so far, not decided to address. I will give you a small example: Nigeria has an installed capacity of 12,522 megawatts of power; we have non-available of 5,300MW; we have non-operational capacity of 3,180MW; meaning that the amount that is actually available is just over 4,000MW out of 12,500MW.
“We have transmission loss of 228MW and we have distribution loss of 447MW. At the end of the day, only 3,800MW reaches the consumer, and we have commercial loss of more than 36 per cent. So, what is actually being paid for out of the over 3,000MW is only 1,800MW.
“So, unless and until we decide to look at this inefficiency within the value chain, there is no way we can have better electricity generation, distribution and also billing system in the country. So, I agree that the model they have used for privatisation has not worked. And unless and until this inefficiency is looked at, it will not work.”
The senator further stated that if the sector had the capacity to generate 12,500 megawatts but it could only deliver 4,000MW, it meant that more than 75 percent of the capacity had not been utilised.
He added, “It means that we are sitting on an emergency situation and something has to be done drastically to address this problem.
“The value chain is weakest at the distribution companies’ level because they are the ones who collect the money and you will never know how much money is being collected because they have failed to install the metres that are needed. We need millions of metres.”
Mustapha recalled that some lawmakers visited a meter testing facility on Monday “because each metre has to be tested but there is no capacity to test the millions of metres in Nigeria.”
According to him, the DISCOs are supposed to provide the meters but lack the fund and technical capacity to provide the devices. “So, it means we have to revisit this as urgently as possible,” he stated.
The deputy president of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, ruled that the motion be stepped down pending the outcome of the probe by the Abaribe-led panel.
“It makes better sense that we consider the report and be free to make our comment based on the recommendations by the committee,” he said.