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‘Tag of ‘failed investors’ final step to revoke 2013 power privatization exercise’

The latest move by the Federal Government to repossess 10 out of 11electricity distribution firms as one of the options to rescue the nation’s ailing electricity value chain in Nigeria has been seen by industry expert as readiness to quash the entire 2013 unbundling of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria.

Already, government had earlier declared all 11 power distribution firms declared technically insolvent, but had kept mute on the time to sack their management due to issues of litigations that would arise if not well worked out the before action.

Another factor pointing to the possible revocation of the power privatization is the recent expression of anger by the Senate, which has kicked against the continuous disbursement of bailout funds by the Federal Government to power firms.

Recall that the distribution and generation companies carved out of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria were handed over to private investors on November 1, 2013, following the privatisation of the power sector by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

However, analysts are upbeat that the failure of majority of the Discos to key into the Meter Access providers (MAP) by way of snail speed approach, plus the scheduled final performance review of the private firms that bought into the distribution companies, there are strong indications that the days of Discos are numbered going forward.

Even though there are signs that the Federal Government would require up to $2.4bn (N736bn) to repossess the privatised distribution assets from the core investors if it finally takes the decision, many Nigerians see the continued stay of Discos in the power value chain would continue to put the economy in motionless growth cycle.

Currently, the major point of anger both by the government and Nigerians is the latest tactics of Discos in frustrating access to electricity with their system of choosing when and how to buy power from Gencos who had been trying their best within the circumstance.

Studies revealed that why electricity had remained epileptic is not because Gencos are not producing, but because Discos are not buying power according to the needs of their service areas, thus giving room for regular and momentary blackout in several places across the federation.

Observers say the very first operation by whoever that will assume the position of Minister of Power may be to revoke licences Discos and instant reform of the industry segment.