Nigerians must pay to enjoy stable power – TCN boss

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For Nigeria to have stable electricity supply, the power sector be run like a business where consumers are ready pay, Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) Usman Gur Mohammed has said.

The TCN boss stated this in Kaduna at the weekend while speaking at a policy dialogue on power sector, an event put together by Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP).

He said uninterrupted power supply is possible in Nigeria but requires investment to have the network with requires consumers prepared to pay.

According to Mohammed, in African countries where there is stable power supply, people pay for electricity that they consume.

“If you go to places like Burkina Faso for example, the cost of electricity is more than two times what we have here and the people are paying.

“I want to tell Nigerians that, generally, electricity has to be run like a business and that means we have to pay for electricity for us to have electricity.

“So, this idea of people not wanting to pay, and feeling that, electricity is a social service, should stop. That culture should stop so that, we can expand the grid and provide stable electricity.

“Because, it is investment that is required to have the network and that investment requires that, people who are consuming this product should pay,” he stated.

Speaking on President Muhammadu Buhari strides in the power sector, the TCN MD said the government inherited a sector that had problems in generation, transmission and distribution but has been able to fix the challenges in generation and transmission to a large extent.

He explained: “You will agree with me that, when the government of President Muhammadu Buhari came in, all the value chains in the power sector had problem from generation, transmission and distribution.

“You recall that, that time, generation was hovering around 3,500 megawatts and the same with distribution and transmission capacity was not more than 5,000 megawatts.

“But, as at today, if you look at transmission, even as at December 2018, the transmission capacity was around 8,100, it means that significant improvement has taken place.

“As at today, the generation capacity is about 7,500, it also means there is significant improvement.

“So, if you had three things that were not working, and you have been able to fix two, only one is remaining, definitely a significant improvement has taken place.

“So, I want to assure you that even the distribution now, government came up with a N72bn distribution programme which is being implemented by the ministry of power and so many other interventions.

Definitely, government is willing to solve the last line now, and I believe very soon, we will see the result.

“There are some mistakes we made in the privatization of the power sector that led to the fact that, we have very weak companies that have succeeded in taking over the Discos.

“So, we need to correct that weakness by recapitalization of the Discos, because when we the did the privatization, we didn’t have the synergical investments coming into the distribution network.

Definitely, there is something that needs to be corrected and that is why I said there were mistakes.

“So, what I am saying is that, all the players in the power sector have to do their job. I am not saying all the transmission problems have been solved, but we have made significant progress in solving the transmission problems and we have put in mechanism to make transmission stable and also to be able to fulfill its responsibility in the power value chains. We also need commensurate investment and effort on the other side, especially the distribution.”

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