The Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company has appealed to the Federal Government to help guarantee bank loans for DISCOs, and to ease their difficulty in acquiring foreign exchange for their operations.
The company blamed the two problems as amongst the factors responsible for incessant power outage across the country. It also blamed pipeline vandalism.
Abdulazeez Abdullahi, head of Corporate Affairs of Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, told journalists on Monday in Kaduna that the low electricity generation was partly occasioned by gas supply shortages as a result of pipeline vandalism.
“There is no forex. Part of the delay in the takeoff of the meter manufacturing factory is indeed this issue of lack of access to forex,” he said.
“Securing loan from banks is not easy considering that any bank that looks at our books is reluctant to give us the loans.
“If the Federal Government as promised, steps in and addresses the liquidity issue in the electricity sector, it will mean that our banks will have assurance that they can give loans and be paid for, at the stipulated time,” he said.
The Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy recently expressed disappointment that electricity Distribution Companies which took over from the Power Holding Company are performing worse than their predecessors.
The Committee chairman, Eyinnaya Abaribe, who led members of the committee on an oversight function to electricity companies in Kaduna last December, said that the performance of the DISCOS was worse than that of the defunct state-owned National Electric Power Authority which preceded PHCN in terms of revenue collection.
Mr. Abdullahi said the DISCOs were having liquidity problem.
He lamented that in January alone the Kaduna DISCO, which is in charge of Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi States, had three system collapse.
“So, automatically our revenue for January, 2017 and even that of December, 2016 is not anything to write home about,” he said.
“Monthly invoice is between N3billion to N3.5billion. But roughly we make like N1.5 or there about. So, there is a significant gap.”
He said the Kaduna DISCO has engaged a company called Revolt, to improve revenue collection through modern technology.
“We are going to engage agents, we are going to engage e-channels using POS, internet, quickteller, ATM, to make it easier for the people to pay so we don’t have to be chasing them. All these is to ensure that the energy we give out, we are able to recover it,” he said.
On why customers are left to bear the cost of maintaining faulty transformers and other electricity installations, Mr. Abdullahi said the DISCO often guarantees compensation after confirming the quality.
“We have to also send it to NERC to say that the equipment has been bought by the community, now it has been put on Kaduna Electric network, and then determine how the compensation will be arrived at,” he said.
He said about 24 staff were dismissed for fraudulent activities and 15 are currently under investigation.
He said only 147 Megawatts of electricity was allocated for the four states under the DISCO as at Friday from the national grid, saying that was not enough for Kaduna town alone.
“Kaduna takes more than any of the other states with 45 Megawatts out of 147 Mega Watts as at Friday, while the rest of the three states of the zone shared the balance.
“The reason why places like Birnin Kebbi gets high is because of our relationship with Republic of Niger.
“We give power to the Republic of Niger from the transmission company in Birnin Kebbi. So, because of that, Birnin Kebbi benefits from that.
“Whatever it is we produce, we have to serve the contractual agreement we have with Niger Republic,” he added.
Birnin Kebbi has been enjoying 24 hour electricity supply despite shotfall of electricity across the country.