Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) and the Market Operator, a division of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), have been at odds over who is to blame for the subpar services provided by the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).
A division of TCN, MO is in charge of billing for ancillary services rendered by TCN, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and other governmental organizations operating in the industry.
In a statement issued on Monday, the market operator, Engr. Edmund Eje attributed the Nigerian power market’s lack of expansion to enterprises’ disregard for the laws and regulations governing the industry.
He stated that fines against delinquent businesses that flout laws intended to advance the market have already begun to be implemented.
Eje stated that penalties can involve a partial National Grid cutoff.
With generation, transmission, and distribution averaging only 4,000MW, the federal government’s partial privatization of the electrical sector in November 2013 has not resulted in the progress that was anticipated.
Eje made the point that following the law is essential for the sector’s survival and longevity.
TCN had given nine electricity distribution businesses (DisCos), three-generation companies (GenCos), and the Ajaokuta Steel Company a 14-day deadline in March to resolve issues with their remittances and other matters with the Market Operator.
“As such, these rules are sacrosanct and must be complied with by all existing or new players in the sector.
Essentially, the players in the power sector are the generators, transmission, and distribution companies.
“For all the players to interact effectively and create the requisite harmony for growth, efficiency, profitability, and of course, continued sustenance of the sector, the rules set for governance and regulation of the relationship between all in the sector must be obeyed and upheld”, he stated.
Dr. Eje added: “Market Participation Agreement is signed by all participants, but to comply with them is usually an uphill task for many. If the rules of every game are observed, there would be no need for sanctions”.
When contacted by Vanguard for comments, the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors(ANED), Barrister Sunday Oduntan declined, saying he was in a position to do so.
However, a source at one of the electricity distribution companies, DisCos, in the northern part of the country accused the Market Operator of playing to the gallery.
According to the source, “The MO works for TCN which is wholly government owned. What improvements have you seen in the transmission segment? Over the years, the government has also been in control of some DisCos and GenCos, how have they performed?
“The government remains the biggest challenge in the sector. All of us know what the issues are. Government agencies and parastatals remain the biggest debtors to DisCos. The MO wants us to remit monies that we have not collected. The Central Bank of Nigeria knows how much each DisCo collects and that is what is keeping the sector afloat.
“The MO knows that a new government is coming and that most of them will lose their positions. He is just posturing.
“Let us wait for the new government because the sector requires a major reset. Without electricity, the economy cannot grow and so the sector must be a major priority for the incoming government”, the source added.