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Reps charge FG on failing power supply

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Increasing power outages have been plaguing the country in recent weeks.

To prevent a nationwide blackout, the House of Representatives on Tuesday demanded the Federal Government, acting through the Ministry of Power along with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), to find a permanent solution to the problem of distribution of electricity and supply. Following the passage of movement on a Matter of critical Public Concern titled “Urgent need for the House intervention and prevention of the total collapse of power supply to the whole nation,” which was sponsored by the Honourable Unyime Idem, who petitioned for the House’s intervention, the resolution was subsequently voted on and passed.

In his discussion, Hon. Idem voiced his displeasure with the increasing number of power outages that have been plaguing the country in recent weeks. These outages have disrupted the lives of Nigerians, who have also had to deal with a number of price hikes. According to recent reports, the Federal Government has started disabling the power of electricity distribution firms (Discos) that are not following the operation standards and guidelines set forth by the Transmission Company of Nigeria and the Market Operator.

Many power distribution companies are in debt to the country.

Unfortunately, it was discovered that practically all of the distribution companies in the country are currently in default, and this is to the disadvantage of the customers in one way or another, and it ranges from failing to comply with the market regulations with respect to reimbursement of their overdue debts to other areas. Also, on posting suitable bank guarantees and submitting their active Power Purchase Agreements, as the instance may be to the MO/TCN for failing to pay payments of ancillary services bills.

Also, the House is aware that some Discos have received notices of removal from the national grid from the Market Operator, an arm of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, for failing to follow operation ethics. Moreso, millions of electricity users in Nigerian residences and neighbourhoods could experience complete blackouts in the upcoming weeks as a result of the Federal Government’s massive debtor disconnections from the grid, which are being carried out by the Market Operator (MO) and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

Communities are threatening to protest if the issue is not resolved.

However, unpleasant reactions to the news are already being voiced, with the Aba Landlords Protection and Development Association (ALPDA) and other Communities threatening to take to the streets in a massive demonstration if the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) does not reverse its decision. The House notes that the 60-day extension granted to defaulting DISCOs to pay their outstanding invoices, share adequate bank guarantees, and submit their active Power Purchase Agreements to the MO/TCN is quickly coming to a close.

Due to the interest of millions of Nigerians, this House is hereby requested to implore the negligent DISCOs to take advantage of the dialogue prospect to reshape their situation and guarantee that they conform with the market procedures. Also, when required, they should submit a security deposit to serve as an assurance of payment for all sums that are owed by the members to the TCN, as well as pay in a timely way any payment that is due.

Erring DISCOs bank account should be suspended.

Instead of letting the masses who have been paying their bills on time go without power, the House urged that the Federal Government, through the TCN, punish the erring DISCOs over not being able to remit payment by suspending their bank accounts or reprimanding them. To accomplish this goal, the House resolved to charge its Committee on Power with monitoring the execution of their resolutions and providing a report on its findings to them in one week.

Related Link

TCN: Website

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