There seems to be hope for Nigeria electricity users as the Minister of Power Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, announced that Nigerian households would enjoy an improved power supply by August.
The minister said this on Thursday in a speech delivered at an event called “Power Sector Reform In Nigeria: Challenges and the Way Forward,” held at the University of Lagos.
“We are working round the clock to solve the [power supply] problem. We are going to get more power by August,” Mr. Fashola pledged.
“How we get equipment, transformers, and all of the equipment needed within the next cycle of 60 to 90 days is critical so that we don’t lose all that energy that is coming from the raining season,” he added.
The power minister explained that although Nigerians mainly interact with the distribution companies, they are not the only players in the Nigerian power sector. He said ordinary Nigerians who illegally supply substandard power equipment exacerbate the challenges the sector faces.
He explained that such activities are criminal offenses and punishable by the Nigerian law, adding that the federal government is doing everything it can to ensure the power challenges are solved promptly.
“If you don’t pay for electricity, you have violated a law. But we are now trying to make that law stronger, and we are looking at how to include fines and to increase the consequences. We want to make it easier to comply than to violate,” he said.
Mr. Fashola also informed his audience that meters are calibrated differently for different distribution companies, adding that for a meter to be transferred, it has to be recalibrated by the distribution company in its new area of use.
“There are different types of consumers and therefore they require different kinds of meters. Meters are calibrated differently for each distribution company. So, the meter that Ikeja disco has – if you move them from Ikeja disco, they must be recalibrated before you can use them. If you use the wrong meter, you’ll pay the wrong tariff,” he warned.
On the agitation to cancel the privatization of the power sector, the power minister said, “Instead of saying ‘cancel the privatization,’ I would rather say, let us rework the privatization and re-engineer it to make it work.
“When people ask us to cancel the privatization, I ask them how that impacts our moving forward when we demonstrate that we are a nation that cancels a respecting contract. Where are we going to get the dollars to refund [the contractors]? Because they paid in dollars and I don’t think they would accept naira. We cannot keep canceling, there must be a point where we can make things work and I guess that is what this administration is about. We can make it work,” the minister said.