By Aaron Ossai
Worried by the incessant interruption of power supply across the nation in the past weeks, the House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government through the Ministry of Power and Transmission Company of Nigeria to find a lasting solution to the issue of power distribution and supply nationwide.
Passing a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Hon. Unyim Idem, the House mandated its standing Committee on Power to oversee the implementation of the resolutions of the House and report back within one week.
Leading debate on general principles of the motion, its sponsor, Hon. Idem representing Ukanafu/Oruk Anam federal constituency of Akwa Ibom sate epileptic power supply has been on the increase thus disrupting businesses and lives of Nigerians who are equally burdened with several tariff increments.
He said that the House was aware that recently and in the news, the Federal Government through the Transmission Company of Nigeria and the Market Operator have begun disconnecting electricity distribution companies (Discos) that are not complying with the operation codes and guidelines.
The House also recognizes that the Market Operator, a division of Transmission Company of Nigeria, has reportedly served some of the Discos notices of disconnection from the national grid due to their inability and failure to comply with operation ethics.
“Unfortunately, it was gathered that virtually all the distribution companies in Nigeria are defaulting in one area or the other to the detriment of the consumers ranging from non-compliance to the Market Rules with respect to payment of their outstanding invoices, posting of adequate bank guarantees, and forwarding of their active Power Purchase Agreements as the case may be to the MO/TCN for failure to make remittances of ancillary services bills”, he observed.
Speaking further, the federal lawmaker said the House is also aware that millions of electricity consumers in Nigerian homes and communities may be plunged into darkness in the coming weeks as the Federal Government through the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the Market Operator (MO) has begun massive disconnection of debtor electricity distribution companies (Discos) from the national grid.
“The news is already generating unpalatable outburst as over 20,000 members of the Aba Landlords Protection and Development Association (ALPDA) and other Communities have threatened to mobilize and occupy streets if the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) fails to rescind their decision.
“Note that an extension of the grace period of 60 days given the defaulters discos wherewith they are expected to comply with the provisions of the Market Rules with respect to payment of their outstanding invoices, posting of adequate bank guarantees, and forwarding of their active Power Purchase Agreements to the MO/TCN is almost over.
“Also note that in the general interest of millions of Nigerians, this House is hereby invited to urge the erring Discos to seize the dialogue opportunity to fix the crisis and ensure that they comply with the market procedures; provide security deposit when so required to serve as a guarantee of payment for all amounts due from their participants to the TCN, as well as settle, in a timely manner, any payment due.
“Further note that the Federal government through the TCN to penalize the erring Discos for failure to remit payment by either freezing their bank accounts or reprimand rather than suffer the masses that have been diligently paying for their power supply”, he added.
After a robust debate on the general principles of the motion, majority of members at plenary supported its prayers via a voice vote.