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FG Working Out Cost-Reflective Electricity Tariff Implementation Programme -Minister

The Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, yesterday said that to ramp up liquidity in the power sector, the government was working out a cost-reflective electricity tariff regime for the country.

In a statement in Abuja, the minister however said that the federal government will protect the poor and vulnerable electricity consumers in Nigeria by ensuring the payment of subsidy to augment the expected shortfall.

Many operators in the power sector have blamed their inability to set electricity tariffs in line with current economic realities as being responsible for the illiquidity in the sector.

But Adelabu reassured Nigerians of his ministry’s commitment to prioritising electricity supply in the country in line with what he termed President Bola Tinubu’s electricity turnaround agenda in his New Year message.

According to him, the ministry, agencies and Distribution Companies (Discos) worked tirelessly during the yuletide to enhance power supply while also acknowledging positive improvements.

Adelabu noted that in recognising the critical role of electricity in economic growth, the initial three months of his assumption of office focused on diagnosis, stakeholder consultation, and strategy formulation.

With a well-documented implementation plan now in place, he added that it is now time to take decisive action.

“Our primary focus is enhancing distribution and transmission infrastructure to minimise technical and commercial losses. The lack of liquidity continues to be a significant challenge in the electricity market.

“We are currently reviewing the implementation process of a cost-reflective tariff, while government will continue to subsidise power supply to those that are vulnerable in our society,” he added.

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On the metering challenge, the minister stated that closing the gap remains imperative, explaining that there are ongoing initiatives, including World Bank programmes and the Presidential Metering Initiatives, which are expected to gain momentum soon.

The ministry, Adelabu said, will intervene in distribution infrastructure, supplying transformers to communities without burdening citizens financially.

Besides, he pointed out that rural electrification would remain a priority, with plans for solar-powered mini/micro grids and street lights while collaborating closely with Discos and state electricity boards in efforts to align with local needs.

Continuing, he said that in order to improve the transmission infrastructure, the Presidential Power Initiative, otherwise known as the Siemens Project has now been reactivated to strengthen the national grid, and minimise technical losses.

“We will also be implementing the Eastern and Western super grid projects to strengthen the grid and increase electricity supply to demand centres in the country.

“The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) will be reconstituted in the short term, separating transmission services from system and market operations in the first quarter of this year.

“In the medium to long-term the transmission grid will be separated into regional grids to enable effective management.

“Generating at installed capacity is a goal for government-owned plants, while private companies are encouraged to invest further. Off-grid and distributed generation, utilising renewables, will be a focal point, solar PV plants, small hydro plants, and wind farms will be strategically deployed,” Adelabu stated.

On power theft, the minister said tackling power theft and vandalism remain very paramount.

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“This national responsibility requires joint efforts to protect our assets. The ministry has informed the National Security Adviser (NSA) of recorded cases, and collective action is essential to eliminate these setbacks,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, has said that with the expected full coming on stream of the Port Harcourt and the Dangote refineries, Nigeria was in the era of self-sufficiency in petroleum products refining.

In an X post yesterday, the minister in his New Year message, described as a milestone achievement, the mechanical completion of the Port Harcourt Refinery Company (PHRC), marking a significant step towards domestic crude refining.

“ In reflection, I commend our resilience in navigating the challenges of 2023 while our nation underwent crucial changes and our collective efforts have reshaped the oil sector, paving the way for a prosperous future.

“In the coming months, we anticipate the commencement of operations at PHRC followed by the finalisation of Warri and Kaduna refineries, which signals a renewed era of self-sufficiency in energy production.

“Our engagement with stakeholders and strategic policy implementations have instilled confidence, attracting vital investments. As we embark on this transformative journey, I assure you that 2024 holds promise for economic growth and increased opportunities.

“In unity, let us embark on this journey of Renewed Hope under the administration of President Tinubu because together, we shall witness a prosperous year filled with accomplishments and shared successes,” he said.

Source: Thisday

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