Liquidity, Metering Challenges in Power Sector Easing off

Peter Uzoho

The twin challenges of revenue crisis and the wide metering gap in the Nigerian power industry is gradually easing off, owing to the acknowledgement of the real issues and the collaboration of the stakeholders to tackle them, THISDAY can report.

The improvement is being recorded through the introduction of the cost-reflective tariff regime and the new National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) put in place to support the earlier Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme to ramp up the number of metered electricity customers in the country.

Such cost-reflective tariff and the aggressive metering programmes are resulting in the improvement of the Aggregate Technical and Commercial (ATC&C) Losses, a major challenge suffered by the Distribution Companies (Discos), with the end result being the poor power supply in the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of IE, Ms Folake Soetan, said the collaboration of the federal government, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the industry regulator -the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the operators and other key stakeholders in the industry had resulted in the improvement in the liquidity situation.

This is just as Ikeja Electric Distribution Company (IE) Plc recently inducted 20 young engineers into a 12-months comprehensive developmental programme targeted at improving their capacity and field practice experience for the overall development of the nation’s power sector.

Soetan, who spoke to journalists in Lagos recently at the induction of the new set of young engineers into the company’s fold, revealed that the improved liquidity situation, particularly at Ikeja Electric, had given the Disco the opportunity to invest in infrastructure and improve supply to customers.

She pointed out that the revenue challenge resulted from the absence of cost-reflective tariff which was in the sector in the past.

She added that investing in the firm’s infrastructure, ultimately improves IE’s capacity and availability to provide improved power supply to its customers.

Soetan said: “Like you rightly said, the revenue crisis is a challenge as a result of past issues of not having a cost-reflective tariff. However, the government, from the CBN, from the regulator, they have come together to try and make sure that there is liquidity in the market.

“With that liquidity, what that does essential for the Discos, Ikeja Electric in this case, is that it gives us the opportunity to invest in our infrastructure, and in investment in an infrastructure, it improves the availability that we give to our customers.

“In increasing the availability that we are giving our customers, customers are willing to pay a tariff that is cost-reflective, which ultimately increases our revenue.

“So, ultimately, liquidities improved, service improved, and we all know that power has direct link to the economy. When power is available and affordable, the economy also improves.”

On the state of the company in metering, the chief executive officer said IE had keyed into the national mass metering programme since its launch, revealing that the company has metered over 90 per cent of its customers in the Phase Zero of the programme.

Also speaking on the induction of the 20 young engineers under the company’s Young Engineers’ Programme (YEP) for the 2021/2022 session, the chief executive explained that the programme was designed to be an immersive and experiential learning experience for selected young engineers, focusing on processes, procedures and operations of the Nigerian Electricity Supply industry (NESI).

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