Business Hilights
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Recapitalisation, debts reecho as ECOWAS power summit begins

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The sixth Powering Africa: Nigeria 2017 Summit, with the theme: “Recapitalising Nigeria’s Power Sector,” yesterday kicked off with high expectations that solutions will be proffered in regards to nation’s energy problems.

Otherwise, Distribution Companies (Discos) and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) which had been piling pressure for recapitalisation of the power sector for efficient service delivery will fire from all cylinders to push for better funding and possible jerk up in tariff.

The TCN recently made case for an extraordinary tariff review for ensuring that Generation Companies (Gencos) are incentivised to provide sufficient spinning reserves and other ancillary services critical for managing the national grid.

However, key target of stakeholders at the summit will among other things include how best to pull resources to adequately finance the power sector in quest of 20,000 megawatts (MW) by 2020.

Analysts are upbeat that this can be realizable considering the current generating capacity at about 6,803MW, and wheeling capacity of 6,700MW by the TCN, far below the 20,000MW target expected in three years time.

Business Hilights recalls that the Summit is being hosted by the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA), with the support of the Senate Committee on Power, Steel and Metallurgy, and the Federal Ministry of Power, Works, and Housing in Abuja, from October 4-6, and being organised by EnergyNet Limited.

Currently, investigations show that many Nigerians residing in off-grid communities and villages are currently without access to electricity, where solar power is scarcely provided, while those on-grid are uncertain of reliable supply due to dilapidated and ineffective transmission and distribution network infrastructure.

Industry watchers’ agree that the summit provides a vantage opportunity for Nigeria to appeal to her West African neighbours to pay up the debts owed her for power already supplied. The CEB of Benin Republic and NIGELEC of Niger Republic owe Nigeria $101.46million and $14.45million respectively.

Key anger of Discos for some time now is that the federal government has reneged on pre-privatisation agreements aimed at refinancing the power sector, and agreeing to cost reflective tariffs through the sector regulator, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to boast revenues for reinvestment in distribution infrastructure.