Minister appeals for improvement in electricity supply in FCT

Security of lives, property remain priority of FCTA, says minister
United Bank for Africa

Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, the Minister, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has appealed for improvement in the supply of electricity in the territory.

Mr Cosmas Uzodinma, the Chief Press Secretary of the minister, made this known in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

Bello made the appeal when he received the Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Mr James Momoh in his office.

According to him, electricity supply is a major challenge in FCT because of the many roads and streets that require street lights.

He said that the poor allocation of power from the suppliers was a hindrance to effective development in the city.

He said that one way out of the challenges could be the dedication of mini grids to power strategic roads and facilities.

The minister said that it was necessary for the territory to have first class power supply system.

“There has been significant progress in power generation and supply nationwide since the onset of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

“No doubt about it, there is substantial improvement in power, which is a reflection of government policy, government direction and the drive from Discos, Gencos, Transcos and you the regulator,’’ he said.

The minister said that before the unbundling and subsequent privatisation of power industry, FCT had made substantial investment in power infrastructure.

He said that this had necessitated discussions on how investments done in the past could be refunded.

He suggested that because some states gave assets to Discos, they should also be allowed to be on the board of NERC to enable them be part of decision making.

Bello also stressed the need for Discos to invest in maintenance and fault resolutions.

“In the past in every neighbourhood, there was a small fault office and there was always a pickup van with a ladder at the back.

“Even if it is 12 midnight and there is a fault, you will always get somebody to look at it, now the case is different,” the minister said.

Earlier, Momoh had promised to provide support in implementing demand side management across FCTA facilities to reduce electricity bills.

Momoh noted that many customers were not enjoying reliable service with nearly 50 per cent not having metres.

He said that the issue of estimated billing system was one of the challenges being faced by NERC in discharging its mandate.

He said that the commission would not relent in its efforts to ensure that every home was supplied with affordable, accessible and reliable power.

“There are challenges in doing this; we know that a sizeable part of the country’s population is not connected.

“As you go from Abuja to the villages, you find a lot of people in total darkness because they are not connected to the grid,’’ he said.