Power: Coalition seeks review of sector privatisation

Power station

Power station

Power station

A civil society coalition, Coalition for Revolution, on Thursday called on the Federal Government to review the privatisation of the power sector, in view of what it called the failures of the operators.

The Coordinator, Prince Rilwan Ojora, made the call while speaking with newsmen in Lagos.

He said that power supply had worsened since the sector was privatised in 2013, as new owners of power assets had not added any value to the sector.

Ojora said that the various power distribution companies (Discos) and generating companies (GENCOS) were billing consumers without delivering service.

He said it was high time the government stopped listening to excuses of private power companies for not delivering service, calling for the revocation of their licences and ”re-nationalisation” of the sector.

“Privatisation of the power sector to suit the whims of vicious Discos and Gencos has no doubt complicated power problems.

“And these problems within the past few years have assumed ridiculous turn of embarrassing magnitude.

“Far more than ever, the distribution companies have not only failed to provide electricity, they have taken it as a priority to harass Nigerians with crazy and estimated bills.

“Most houses today are without electricity meters; and this is a conscious attempt to bill consumers for product not consumed.

“It is no wonder you find as common phenomenon a situation where an individual who pays N5,000 as monthly rent receives an electricity bill of N20,000, even when he barely enjoys the service of electricity.”

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Ojora said that the country had not really added more megawatts since the power firms took over from PHCN, the government-owner firm.

“So, we are saying enough is enough. This should not continue. We are demanding the reversal of the privatisation of the sector as Discos and Gencos have failed Nigerians,” he said.

Ojora urged the government to stop Discos from collecting from consumers, arrears borne out of estimated billing, while canvassing a halt to bailouts to electricity firms by government.

The coordinator said the coalition, comprising the Take it Back Movement, Landlords and Tenants Association of Nigeria and Advocacy for Anti-Bribery, Corruption and Preventive Initiative, would stage a protest on the power crisis on June 17.

According to him, the protest rally will be peaceful, and it will be staged across Lagos, to ventilate the frustrations of the coalition and Nigerians about the power crisis.

When told that the power sector was privatised owing to the failings of government firms, Ojora said the sector was far better when NEPA and PHCN were in control.

He said the failings of the two firms were due to corruption in the system, and the same people who ensured the firms never worked were the same that bought them.

“When we had NEPA and PHCN, electricity was cheaper, though these firms had their problems.

“The same people who created problems in NEPA and PHCN are the same people who own the Discos and Gencos.”

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