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Some Influential People aren’t Paying for Power – Fashola

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Fashola complains some Influential People aren't Paying for Power - BellaNaija

Minister of Works, Power and Hosuing, Babatunde Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola on Friday said that the Federal Government will begin the prosecution of energy thieves soon.

He said that this will begin when the ministry concludes its ongoing audit to tackle the issue of metering.

Fashola made this known at an interactive session with members of 21 civil society organisations and the media on Friday in Lagos.

Some of the civil society groups included Centre for Democracy and Social Economic Rights, Alliance for Good Governance, Grassroot Democratic Initiative, and Centre for Social Economic and Human Rights.

He said that some influential people in the country are not paying for power, adding that plans are on to prosecute them and drag them into the energy payment net.

Fashola, however, said that government will fix the problems facing the power sector before applying sanction on energy thieves.

Fashola explained that the ministry, in dealing with problems of the privatisation of the power sector had sought the help of the World Bank whose private sector arm does not lend money to government.

The arms lends and provides guarantee to private companies only.

He said that the distribution companies and generation companies’ proposal did not fit into the World Bank project because they were home grown solutions to the problem of power.

He said that the role of private sector in the power project is to help government carry out its functions better to boost the economy.

“When you look at the contributions of government to the GDP in Nigeria it’s nine, 10 per cent, the contribution of private sector is 90 per cent,” he said.

The minister said that most developed countries did not subsidise utilities but privatised sectors for efficiency.

He explained that contrary to public perception, tariff could sometime be reviewed downward depending on the market forces.

He explained legal angles to some civil society groups who had earlier taken government to court on issues of tariff.

“You cannot sue somebody who has no power. The regulator is Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and it is an agency that should act independently.

“What is the business of the Minister of Communication with your cell phone,” he asked.

He encouraged members of the public to blow the whistle on energy thieves, noting that this would help the discos in the discharge of their function.

“NERC is working on metering regulation, the power sector has been privatised, but it is a largely regulated sector by NERC.

“And so, for you to do anything, you must follow regulations,” he said.

The Minister said that NERC was currently working on mini grids, deregulation of eligible customers and were waiting for the regulation of metering.

“Everybody assumes that Discos would supply meters, Discos do not have the capital to do so and their work is not really meter supply, their work is power supply.

“They need the meter just to measure and to bill us.

“So the regulation that are coming now would open metering to private sector people who would either come and serve as private meter service providers or meter franchise holders,” he said.

He said that the market is evolving for people and investors to choose to either be franchise holders or service providers for community metering.

Fashola said that there were several logistic problems associated with ongoing audit of houses to capture them in the right metering category.

He added that when the privatisation of the sector was earlier done there were only about 6.5 million houses on the data base which showed that some people consumed electricity without payment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.

6 Comments

  1. Fence

    November 18, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Not good… too much double speak……

  2. Nakoms

    November 19, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Fashola. Prince of darkness!

  3. Ello Bae

    November 19, 2017 at 5:01 am

    No mention about the nuclear plant deal they made with Russsia. Smh…when you sell your soul to the devil.

    • Seriously

      November 19, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      Geez, Not everything is devil and witchcraft. It’s called business and trading. Every developing country has nuclear plant, with everything has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s about security and safety.
      When you buy or use Russian made products, it means you sold yourself to the devil as well.
      Fashola, Do audit, tackle the problem and move on with solution.
      It makes absolutely no sense to have major electricity problem in 2017.

  4. tunmi

    November 19, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    This sounds good. I hope the audit gets completed soon, and they can move onto the next phase. If people pay attention, there may be an opportunity for entrepreneurs to be service providers within their communities

  5. benosky

    November 20, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Mr. minister, Na now you know? For a very long time they are not paying. Help the masses to collect the money they are owning power company so that we can get regular light.

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