Fashola Inaugurates Power Sector Leadership Forum

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*As Stakeholders Promised Improved Delivery

By Sola Akingboye

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, has assured Nigerians that with the buy-in of major stakeholders in the Power sector, the newly inaugurated Monthly Leadership Meetings among operators will identify gaps, as well as collectively identify and proffering practical solutions to issues facing the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

The Minister who presided over the inaugural session, enjoined all operators to ensure highest executive level representation, adding that he expects people who can take decisions and not junior levels officers who cannot take actions.

The meeting, which provided the opportunity for the sector to intensify efforts at resolving bottlenecks associated with gas supply to the power sector, was well attended by the top echelon in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry. Those in attendance are the Managing Directors and CEO of Generating Companies (GENCOs), Distribution Companies (DISCOs), Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBETC), Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) were all in attendance.

Representing the oil and gas industry, the Hon. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, led the team of Senior Executives in the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and the Gas Aggregating entities, especially the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC).

Dominant discussions at the meeting bordered on public engagement with stakeholders. Stakeholders were enjoined to take advantage of the reach of the national broadcasting entities such as the NTA and FRCN Nigeria, as well as other media houses in their various localities to enhance public enlightenment, more importantly on tariff related matters.

On collection, payment and debt, participants resolved that operators in the sector should adopt innovative and creative strategies in dealing with issues of vandalism, reluctance of customers to pay for energy consumed as well as equipment maintenance.

Dealing with protracted Metering deficiency and better delivery, operators vehemently agreed to embark on aggressive and sustained roll out of prepaid meters in ensuring that customers pay only for what they consume. The however agreed to patronize genuine local meter manufacturers that meet required standards, while the transmission constraints were exhaustively discussed, especially as gas supply is set to improve. TCN is nevertheless expected to brace-up to the challenge of strengthening its wheeling capacity, with a brief at the next setting.

Tackling concerns raised by participants, on embedded generation, the stakeholders directed NERC to review such concerns on the matrix “willing buyer and “willing seller” basis, just as the Hon. Minister reiterated his commitment to run a sector that prioritize safety.

Meanwhile, the NNPC team, led by the Minister of State, Ibe Kachikwu agreed to share information on significant gas projects that would impact positively on supply, especially those scheduled for completion in Q2 of 2016.

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