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Use your 40% share to meter all Nigerians, Sahara Power Group tells FG

Group Managing Director, Sahara Power Group, operators of the 1,320-Megawatt (MW) Egbin Thermal Plant in Lagos, as well as the Ikeja Electric (IE), Kola Adesina has advised the Federal Government to use its prevailing 40% share in the Disco concession understanding to meter every electricity consumer.

According to him, such move will free funds for Discos in deepening their infrastructure base and increase service delivery.

Speaking to top media executives recently in Ikeja, Adesina argued that “Government, instead of spending trillions upon trillions every year, can pull N500billion out and meter everybody. Meter all Nigerians with the N500billion, and let that be said to be its 40 per cent share in the business.”

Continuing, he stressed that the lingering inappropriate pricing in the industry since the unbundling of former PHCN, has reduced the power sector to the blame-game syndrome since its privatisation almost seven years ago.

While linking the endless power supply crisis to the ever increasing population of the country, Sahara Power Group boss noted that “the population is increasing and the infrastructure is decaying, arising from the fact that the investment required to make the system work has not been triggered due to inappropriate pricing.”

“There is a cost structure associated with electricity supply. In that cost structure, you find gas, generation, transportation, and distribution. Now the distribution side of it, which is what you want me to speak to, the cost there includes and is not limited to metering, billing, monitoring, cash collection, transformer, lines, the feeder, and the substation.

“If I’ve built this humongous infrastructure for me to validate what you’ve received and the revenue I am receiving, when my revenue is not commensurate with the energy that I’ve dispatched, then there is a problem. What that simply means is that there is an additional cost required for me to get it right.”

Ikeja Electirc PTC launch
L-r: Engr. Jide Kumapayi, Business Manager, Ikeja Business Unit; ACP Ibrahim Zungura, Commander Area ‘F’, Ikeja; Mr. Kola Adesina, GMD Shara Power Group; Mr. Biodun Sanusi representing the Chairman of Ikeja GRA Residents Association, Dr. Muiz Banire; Major Hamad Ibrahim, representing Commander 9 Brigade, Nigerian Army – Brigadier Gen. M. G. Ali and Dr. Anthony Youdeowei, CEO, Ikeja Electric at the unveiling of PTC Undertaking, Ikeja GRA, Lagos on Monday, October 22, 2018. Photo: Business Hilights

However, there had been leading industry experts that had earlier maintained the position of Sahara Power group on metering.

One of them included former Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Prof. Sam Amadi, who argued at some time that “When government takes care of metering Nigerians, then it can comfortably exit non-performing DisCos, under set regulatory and legal framework.”

On whether Adesina is on track, Prof Amadi averred that  “Yes, I agree with Adesina that Government should provide meter for everybody. I’ve said this before; government should not give DisCos any money but should provide the meters themselves as this will solve the current metering problem in the country. This will also allow the DisCos charge appropriate fees for power; no more spoon-feeding of anybody.”

However, he distanced self on Adesina’s the cost-recovery argument, stressing that “They (Discos) are supposed to recover their cost for metering over a period of between 10 to 20 years, plus cost of electricity. This is because there is also a meter component factored into their tariff for electricity supplied.”

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