NUEE cautions DisCos to stop issuing threats to FG
The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) on Thursday, cautioned the electricity Distribution Companies in Nigeria (DisCos), to stop threatening to pull out of the electricity deal they had with the Federal Government to provide the nation with adequate power.
The Federal Government had in the last quarter of 2013 handed ownership of the bulk of the country’s electricity company to private buyers, completing the final stages of a privatisation process meant to end decades of debilitating power shortages.
General Secretary of the union, Comrade Joe Ajero, who gave the warning in Lagos at a briefing to mark the nation’s 60th independence anniversary, said there are many other entities that could executive the deal even better, noting that Nigerians cannot be paying for inefficiency.
He said: “When the mission for privatization was embarked upon, we told Nigerians that they will cry, we used the word that Nigerians will speak last. As you can see, in the last few weeks, Nigerians have been crying and protesting because the policy of privatization was designed to fail.“The policy of privatization is an exploitative one, aimed at milking Nigerians dry. The policy of privatization will destroy the economy of Nigeria.
“Seven years after privatization, we are still on 4,000Megawatts. That was where we were before privatization. Should anybody tell you charges for reflecting tariff based on increase in services, tell the person he is a liar because the 4,000Megawatt inherited is still what we have at present.
“The issue of tariff increase is inelastic and will continue to go up. To compare Nigeria to the international market is a fraud. They are charging Nigeria electricity based on production from gas that is the most expensive production of generating electricity. What is troubling is that the gas being produced here is sold to the GENCOs in dollars which is the international market price.
“If they price gas based on the situation here, the tariff will be the lowest in Africa because the source of generation is here. The other source they are using commonly in Nigeria is Hydro(water) and it is not costing us anything and they are still giving electricity to Niger, Togo and Benin Republic when we don’t have enough.’’
He, however, frowned at the lack of capacity by the DISCOs which constantly reject power sent them by the Generating Companies of Nigeria, GENCOs, through the transmission line, adding that their inefficiency has led to constant load shedding as over 90 percent of transformers across the country are faulty and not replaced.
On Power Purchase Agreement, he called for a review, saying “government should tell us why they have not reviewed it because the agreement stated that after five years, the privatization policy will be reviewed and if the DISCOs don’t perform, it will be acquired with one dollar.
‘’For the past two years, the Nigerian government should have re-acquired it when it was assessed and discovered that the DISCOs were not performing.
“I think the DISCOs are enjoying some privileges and protection. Let the Nigeria government tell Nigerians why they have not reviewed the policy after five years and this is the seventh. These DISCOs have failed and the business should be collected from them.
“The right structures of development states that 1,000 megawatts for 1 million citizens. Therefore, if we go by that statistics, we ought to have got over 10,000 megawatts since the last seven years.’’