Electricity consumers and workers have expressed support for the move by Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to break the natural monopoly being enjoyed by distribution companies.
NERC released last week a consultation paper on the development of a regulatory framework for electricity distribution franchising in Nigeria, saying the introduction of sub-franchising of Discos’ operations and coverage areas was expected to improve the quality of power supply.
The regulator said the overarching objective of the proposed regulation on distribution franchising was to facilitate the development of favourable business models that would attract third-party investments in the supply of adequate, safe, reliable and prudently priced electricity to customers of Discos.
Chairman, Nigeria Electricity Consumers Advocacy Network, Mr Tomi Akingbogun, in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Sunday, described the distribution franchising as a good idea, saying, “If it is sincerely carried out, things will improve.”
He said, “There are many areas in which the Discos are unable to perform; they reject power when the Gencos have excess power to sell, and they are doing everything to increase tariff. They want increased tariff without providing meters to all customers; people are groaning over estimated billing.
“What they should do first is to enumerate and provide meters to everybody; then their revenue will be clear to government and their claim that they are not making income will be justified or thrown away.”
General Secretary, Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees, Mr Joe Ajaero, said, “I think there is a need to break the monopolies; many of the Discos have several states to cover.”
“And they are not giving the consumers proper coverage. I think we can rework it,” he added.