The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has justified the suspension of some Distribution Companies (DisCos) from the Electricity Market, stating that there was need to enforce rules and ensure efficiency among operators.
According to the Managing Director of the TCN, Usman Gur Mohammed, the Company’s actions against some operators was to ensure sanity due to default in the Market Conditions/Market Participation Agreements, adding that the “Discos had signed an agreement that they are going to comply with the rules, so you cannot in the middle of the process and say you cannot comply with the rules. That’s the reason we took a decision to enforce the rule”.
The TCN had in the last few weeks issued suspension and disconnection orders against Port-Harcourt, Kano, Enugu, Eko and Ikeja DISCOs over allegations of infraction of market rules.
The TCN, however, lifted the suspension on Enugu, Eko and Ikeja DISCOs after they complied with the market conditions/participation agreement while Port-Harcourt and Kano DisCos are still on suspension.
According to the company, the suspension was a partial one, as the TCN was mindful of the impact of the disconnection or suspension on consumers.
Mohammed in a chat with energy correspondents at the weekend, said: “We also insisted that the discos have to comply with the market rules. You know we cannot take up the fight at the same time; it has to be one after the other. Having enforced the free governor policy, we have to enforce some market discipline too, especially those within our control. If a disco tells you what we are doing is affecting their business model, ask also that which study did they conduct that gave them that policy they are doing?
“We have conducted a credible study which is called 20-year Disco-Transmission Expansion Plan. The plan looks at the needs of the distribution companies and came up with a report that says this is how you should expand. This is because most of the discos are not performing and are not even investing. To escape from their failure of lack of investment, they will say we are putting capacity where they don’t need it.
“We are not just putting capacity; we are also adding redundancy for electricity to be stable. Electricity stability requires what we called redundancy and the least you can is N-1 which means any place where they need 60KvA, you will give them 60KvA x 2 and that is what we are doing under the programme. There is nothing like we are giving supply to where they don’t need it. What is happening is that some of them are gaming the market.
“They refused to put prepaid meters in some places, supply them energy for few hours and charge them on filthy charges (estimated billing or crazy billing). All these claims that poor people don’t pay are all lies. The reality is that we have been gaming the market, people are frustrated and you when frustrated, they can use several means to punish us including refusing to pay, tapping the meters. There is no relationship between poverty and payment of electricity bill. What the poor needs is adequate power supply, meter and give him the choice to switch on/off as he pleases”, he added.