Where Are The DISCOs And GENCOs? – Leadership Editorial

No Comments » April 14th, 2014 posted by // Categories: Energy Development Project




Where Are The DISCOs And GENCOs?

— April 14, 2014

An indigenous opinion research firm working in partnership with The Gallup Poll (USA), NOI Polls, recently confirmed that electricity supply has worsened since November 2013 when the power sector was handed over to new investors. It goes without saying that no value has been added to the assets of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, in the intervening period.

After almost six months since the privatisation of the electricity sector, it will not be considered too hasty to pass judgement on the new regime. And it is not too soon to notice that capacity constraints with regard to output have hampered the optimal distribution functionality of the energy sector. The chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr Sam Amadi, has blamed the nation’s deteriorating power supply on the capacity constraints of the generating companies, GENCOs. About 2,859 megawatts are not utilised due to gas shortage, he said.

The debilitating electricity situation is killing small businesses and increasing the cost of living for the working class. Consumers now get criminally high tariffs and still estimated bills. This leaves Nigerians   wondering whether the recent power privatisation will actually change the power situation, given the way and manner power outages have shot up recently. The power sector privatisation had prompted hopes that incessant cases of power outage would be   history soon enough.  While sabotage cannot be ruled out, we had expected the new owners — GENCOs and distribution companies, DISCOs — to up the ante, show more focus and be strategic in the selection, retention, and deployment of personnel and resources from the transition company. Some disengaged staff of PHCN are technocrats in the power sector. It is not unlikely that those with technical know-how and experience have been sacrificed. They must be secretly jeering at the new owners now for their naivety.

The transition agenda must be all-encompassing to ensure that the non-utilised generation capacity of 1,761 megawatts due to gas and transmission constraints from the Independent Power Projects (NIPP) are incorporated into the agenda. It was expected that, by the time they were taking over this sector, all homework on the challenges and constraints would have been identified and prepared for, so that they would hit the ground running and not come with some defensive attitude or old excuses.

What is happening now paints a depressing picture. The bottom line is availability and efficient supply of electricity so that businesses can thrive and so that life can be smooth. Darkness cannot be the dividend of the privatisation that has led to an astronomical rise in electricity tariffs and mass job loss.


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