Nigeria’s electricity market has been nose-diving since the distribution and generation arms of the sector were privatised in 2013 and is currently on a sick bed, the Transmission Company of Nigeria has said.
According to TCN, the sick state of the power market was because participants, particularly power distribution companies, hardly complied with stipulated rules of engagement.
In a recorded interview in response to an inquiry by our correspondent in Abuja, the Market Operator, Mr. Edmund Eje, stated that the power market was currently seeking sustainability.
He, however, stated that the transmission company had resolved to enforce the market rules which it had powers to enforce in order to forestall an eventual collapse of the power sector.
Eje said, “Seeing how the market is nose-diving you can see that the market is almost on a sick bed, seeking for sustainability, stability, transparency and all that. Now the question is: what would we like to opt for?
“Is it cancellation of the privatisation or do we apply the laws we believe that when they work the market continues? And that’s what the Market Operator of TCN has resorted to doing starting from June this year.”
He explained that why some power distributors were suspended by the TCN recently was because the firms defaulted in renewing their security deposits/guarantees and that this would have crippled the activities of TCN and the sector if it was not checked.
Last week, The PUNCH reported that the Federal Government reconnected Enugu, Eko and Ikeja power distribution companies to the national grid and lifted the suspension it slammed on the power firms after the Discos paid the stipulated fines attached to the infractions they committed, as well as fixed the deficiencies in their respective systems.
In the interview, Eje said, “You can’t believe that because we’ve not been having access to their security deposits, most of the market participants never deemed it fit to revamp, renew and even to know when their security deposits expires.
“And when deposits expire, it means that they are no longer secured in the market and the entire market is also at risk. It is not about the Disco, it is not about Market Operations or TCN, but the sustenance of the Nigerian electricity market.”
He added, “Every other developed clime where you hear that it is working, it is mainly because the rules are obeyed. If it is working in the United Kingdom, it is because the practitioners comply with the rules that control the market.
“Today, we want to do our own part as Market Operator; we want to make sure that we enforce the rules. We want to make sure that any person who has signed an agreement with us complies with the tenets of that agreement and that’s what we are trying to do right now.”
He noted that after the disconnection of Discos by TCN, the transmission firm started receiving commendations as other market participants noted that the move was a good way to help manage the market.
Eje said, “I tell you that since this started, we have been receiving commendations and if only the market will be sustained through this, then it will be good for the Nigerian electricity market. That’s what we are doing.
“The far reaching implication is that if the Discos do what they are supposed to do, you will see that the market itself is going to stabilise. The common person who can also afford his bill will likewise pay his bill.
“But the important thing is that at any time or most of the times you turn on your switch there will be light.”