The Federal Government says it has recovered $64.63 million debt owed it by Niger and Benin Republics as part-payment for electricity supply to the two neighbouring countries.
Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), who disclosed this yesterday at the 21st monthly power stakeholders’ meeting in Asaba, said the sector was able to hit 7,000 megawatts (mw) due to the stable peace in the gas-producing area of Niger Delta region.
According to him, the peace had contributed immensely towards the steady production and supply of gas to power projects.
Fashola said that for the first time in the history of power sector, hydro and gas combined together to improve electricity needs of the country.
“This is a fair balance and now that the waters are going down, it is also the time for us to prove our mettle by stabilising upward the power being generated,” he said.
He, therefore, appealed to lawmakers in the country to come up with legislation prohibiting encroachment on the right of way of power lines, vandalisation of electricity installations and another that will support collection of bills, among others.
The minister, who enjoined consumers to avail themselves with the opportunities at customers’ fora to address their grievances rather than congesting the courts with litigations, especially against electricity distribution companies (Discos), appealed to electricity consumers to pay their bills regularly without which discos would find it difficult to provide services.
He added that the greatest challenges facing consumers were estimated billings and insufficiency of electricity meters, which he said, were being addressed by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
On rural electricity agency aimed at improving power in core rural areas, the minister said guidelines had been completed while the Mambila Plateau electricity project had been approved.
Meanwhile, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, said with the switch on of the facility, feeder limitations would remain a thing of the past as industrial clusters around the state capital would enjoy dedicated lines for 24 hours.