By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah
For eight times, intermittent power failure disrupted the investigative hearing session on power sector at the Senate yesterday leading to the usage of recharge lamp and camera lights to power the session.
The session, which was the last day of the interactive session the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee members had with stakeholders of the power sector, started at about 11:30am and ended abruptly at 4pm due to 10-15 minutes power failure at intervals for eight different times from 2pm when the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, was making a submission on behalf of the various electricity companies.
Aside the perm secretary, other critical stakeholders of the sector caught in the power outage disappointment while making presentation were the director-general of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Benjamin Ezreal Dikki; the chairman, National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Sam Amadi, and some of the managing directors of electricity distribution companies (DISCOs).
Even the chairman of the committee, Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno North), was not spared, as he was also interrupted by one of the many power outages.
Worried by the ugly development, Kyari after the session told journalists that the committee would investigate what led to the power outages during the sitting.
“The power outages experienced here today further underscores the relevance of this committee at this critical time but we shall investigate whether they were deliberate or not,” he said, adding that the actual public hearing on the sector would hold in due course.
Earlier, investors in the sector had, in their various submissions, lamented that they are running at heavy losses on monthly basis due a myriad of factors.
The managing director of Enugu Distribution Company, Mr Robert Dickerman, who spoke on behalf of all the distribution companies, said they were running the entire industry at a deficit of N20bn per month.
This, according to him, was because over 50 percent of electricity consumers were not metered and about 30 per cent were not even on the billing system of the service providers.
He also stated that even the N100billion subsidy promised by the federal government for injection into the sector was not fulfilled.
This submission was corroborated by the CEO, Ibadan Electricity Generating Company, Adeoye Fagbembi, on behalf of the six GENCOs who said transmission losses between them and the electricity distributors was a big issue, and lamented that the N100bn subsidy earlier promised by government to bridge the loss gaps was yet to be fulfilled.
But the BPE director-general, Benjamin Dikki, in his submission, said the Central Bank of Nigeria had paid N5bn of the N100bn promised by the government. He, however, admitted that the investors were running at a loss.
He further explained that the losses at initial stages were envisaged and were embedded in the performance agreement reached with the investors.
In his own presentation, the chairman of NERC, Sam Amadi, refuted the claim that the Transmission Company of Nigeria would soon be privatized by the federal government, saying government had no such plans because of the sensitive nature of that particular component to the sector.