Electricity: TCN, DisCos trade blames over sector’s poor performance

The Market Operator, a unit in the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN and electricity distribution companies, DisCos, have disagreed sharply over who is responsible for poor services rendered by the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI.

The MO, a unit in the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, is responsible for issuing invoices and collecting payments for ancillary services provided by TCN, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, and other government agencies in the sector.

The Market Operator, Engr. Edmund Eje, in a statement yesterday blamed lack of growth in the Nigerian electricity market on the failure of companies to adhere to rules and regulations governing the sector.

He explained that the process of imposing sanctions on defaulting firms which disregard rules aimed at promoting the market has started.

Eje said sanctions could include partial disconnection from the National Grid.

The electricity sector which was partially privatised by the Federal Government in November 2013, has failed to deliver the expected improvement with generation, transmission and distribution averaging just 4,000MW.

Eje pointed out that adherence to rules is absolutely necessary for the viability and sustainability of the sector.

TCN had in March issued a 14-day ultimatum to nine electricity distribution companies, DisCos, three generation companies, GenCos and the Ajaokuta Steel Company to remedy their remittances and other 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 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.


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