The Nigerian government has said that electricity companies that fail to deliver assigned volumes will face penalties under newly agreed contracts.
The step will be taken as part of measures to boost power supply in the country, and explains the government’s recent assurance that supply will improve from July, power minister Abubakar Aliyu said.
Mr Aliyu told journalists in Abuja that power operators, including generating firms or GENCOs, the Transmission Company of Nigeria and those distributing or DISCOs, signed contracts with the government on Tuesday, outlining specific amounts of electricity they will be offering customers.
“We signed reactivated contracts with the operators, GENCOs, TCN and the distributors. This means if you have a firm commitment from whoever generates what he says he is going to give, he must give otherwise there will be a penalty and he must not give otherwise, there will be a penalty,” he said.
The operations will be overseen by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to ensure all parties keep to the agreement.
“That was why the chairman of NERC – Nigeria electricity Regulatory Commission, mentioned something about July 1, 2022, Nigeria will start to enjoy electricity. This is a process towards that,” the minister said.
Nigeria’s broken power system has faced even more problems in recent months, generating below capacity and with the grid repeatedly collapsing.
The government has given several reasons for the poor electricity supply that leaves most citizens with power for hours and sometimes days.
The power minister said insecurity was also a problem affecting the sector’s progress.
“Like vandalism around oil pipelines which affects gas and once you don’t get gas to power, you don’t get the megawatts, once there is no power coming from the generators, you know what that means,” he said.
He said efforts are being made to ensure that issues are addressed.
“We are working round the clock to ensure that we nip everything in the bud. For instance, this maiduguri issue that you have particularly mentioned,” he said.
He said the government has been able to take back electricity to Maiduguri, Borno State, where the jihadist group Boko Haram attacked installations.
“Yes, we are facing a lot of security challenges in this country. We have challenges around our installations in Kaduna,” he said.
“As I’m talking to you now we have been battling with one of our lines snapping towards Shiroro, we have two lines coming from there. One, we cannot even go there to inspect and see what is wrong because of the security challenges,” he added.
Speaking on the government’s pact with Siemens, he said officials have been invited for the factory-testing of the 10 Mobitra transformers in Italy ahead of commencement of delivery in September 2022.