Why consumers should prepare to pay more for electricity ─TCN

*Stop subsidising the power sector, Mohammed urges Government

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Reinforcing the recent express directive the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) handed down to 11 electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to jack up power tariffs effective from April 1, 2020, Mr. Usman Mohammed, Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), has said that consumers should be prepared to pay more for electricity to ensure regular power supply in the country.

Mr. Mohammed said this Friday, in Lagos, during the groundbreaking for the peplacement of old wires on the Ikeja West-Alimosho-Ogba-Alausa-Ota Transmission Lines, agency report says.

According to the TCN Chief Executive, Nigerian consumers have to be prepared to pay more for electricity because there is no relationship between poverty and payment of electricity.

“I want to tell the Nigerian public that we cannot move forward if we do not pay more for electricity.

“There is no relationship between poverty and payment for electricity.

“For the poor, give them electricity and a means of measurement, and manage their cost.

“But if we don’t initiate a cost-reflective tariff system and the situation continues like this, public funds would continue to sink in the sector in futility,” Mohammed said.

He similarly urged the government to stop subsidising the power sector in order to move the sector forward.

“We have to be prepared to remove government in the middle; this issue of government guaranteeing everybody won’t work.

“The fact is that contracts are not effective and government cannot continue guaranteeing the Generation Companies (GENCOs) where it already sank over N1.5 trillion.

The TCN boss further said that the expenses can only be stopped when contracts become effective through cost-reflective tariffs.

“When contracts are effective, everybody is bound by certain agreements,” he said.

He added that Nigeria has the cheapest electricity in West Africa, and “we can’t say we are the poorest.”

“Even Burkina Faso is having collection efficiency of 98 percent, despite their location within the sub region.

“We, therefore, have to solve the problem of market issues.”

On load rejection by DisCos, he said that could also be resolved once bilateral contracts were effective.

Mohammed, on the cable replacement project, stated that the power transmission lines were built many years ago with limitations on the quantity of electricity they were carrying, making the upgrade inevitable.

“So, we are in the process of replacement of old wires on the Ikeja West-Alimosho-Ogba-Alausa-Ota transmission lines.

“Due to the current management quest of improving availability of electricity in the country, there have been series of transformer installations across the country, and there is a need for a line that can supply power to all the transformers.

“This installation will increase the current capacity of this station to about two-and-a-half capacity compared to the old capacity of 200 megawatts.

“The line to be re-conducted has 664MW capacity of transformer, and the current line has only 200MW of capacity.

“So, the re-conducting would increase the capacity by 2.5 per cent which would upgrade it to 500MW.

“That means all transformers the line Ikeja West is covering between Abeokuta and Lagos will be energised.

“The project would improve power supply to residents under Ikeja Electric (IE) network,” he said.

Meanwhile, the timeframe for the reconstruction of the line was six months, while re-conducting was also taking place at other locations, such as the line from Alagbon transmission to Ikorodu down to Maryland, in Lagos State, among others, he added.

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