FG Seeks Extra Seats on Boards of Discos as BPE Calls for Parley

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Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The federal government appears not to have relented on its desire to have additional seats on the boards of the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) in Nigeria’s electricity sector, and has in this regards asked the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to begin negotiations on this with the Discos, THISDAY yesterday learnt.
The paper gathered in Abuja from reliable Discos’ sources that the BPE last week wrote to invite them to a meeting where the discussion would be held.

The meeting is reportedly supposed to hold on May 22 and 23. It was also learnt that the subject of the meeting was specifically the government’s intention to increase its representation on the boards of the Discos.

In February, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, made an attempt to inaugurate two non-executive directors for each of the 11 Discos. Fashola, had reportedly sent letters to the heads of the Discos, intimating them of the government’s plan to appoint and inaugurate two non-executive directors for the Discos. The inauguration was scheduled to hold at the corporate headquarters of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) but was subsequently canceled on allegations of protests by the Discos.

However, one of the Discos’ sources told THISDAY that the BPE had since taken up the process and would meet with them to discuss its possibility. He said he was not sure about how that would work, adding that the proposal was against the terms of the shares purchase agreements the Discos signed with the BPE when they acquired 60 per cent shares of the distribution assets.

He said even though the government currently has a seat on the boards of the Discos, its proposal to increase it may not go down well with the Discos who feel that it was not what they need at the moment to get through their current challenges in the industry.

Meanwhile, peak power generation which moved up above 5000 megawatts (MW) in the first few days of May, has however begun to come down to the usual average peak generation levels of 4000MW, on account of various operational constraints but mostly gas supply constraints.

Data obtained from the System Operations Department of the TCN and Advisory Power Team in the Office of Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed that while power generation hit the 5000MW mark in the first days of May, peak generation on May 4, was however at 4712MW, it subsequently dropped to 4,207.6MW on May 5, and then picked up to 4,388.8MW on May 6.

The data equally noted that on May 5, average power sent out was 3,468MW, down by 114.33MW from that of the previous day. It added that circa 1,740MW was not generated due to unavailability of gas, 90MW not generated due to unavailability of transmission infrastructure, while 1,871.5MW was also not generated due to high frequency resulting from unavailability of distribution infrastructure and 95MW not generated due to water management.

On May 6, the data said that average power sent out was 3,382MW, down by 86.37MW from the previous day. 1,978MW was not generated due to unavailability of gas, while 190MW was not generated due to unavailability of transmission infrastructure and high frequency resulting from unavailability of distribution infrastructure ensured that 1,225.4MW was not generated to the grid.

Between May 5 and 6, the data added that N1.870 billion and N1.629 billion were not collected by the sector as revenue from these operational losses.