Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Benjamin Ezra Dikki has said that allowing two distribution companies to operate in a given area was an invitation to chaos as electric cables would criss-cross each other.
He explained that it is practically challenging at the initial stage of the power privatization in Nigeria for more than one distribution Company to operate in a designated area as there was no technology yet wireless for transmission of power to simultaneously supply power to consumers.
A statement by the Head, Public Communications, BPE, Chigbo Anichebe said Dikki spoke when he appeared on the maiden edition of the weekly Radio program – Reform Nigeria on WE FM Radio in Abuja.
In an apparent response to a question by a caller that allowing only one distribution company to operate in a given area does not engender competition but encourages monopoly, the DG said that power distribution by its nature was monopolistic but that in the Nigerian experience, the reform gave birth to 11 (eleven) distribution companies so that there would be peer group pressure to improve and share experiences on how to improve the power market.
He said so far, the companies were learning from each other to improve on power supply to consumers, citing the Eko Distribution Company for instance which has computerized its operations which other companies were emulating.
The DG said that it was in realization by government that private sector monopoly was more vicious than the public sector monopoly that, the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill, popularly known as Anti-Trust Bill was initiated by the Bureau which when passed, would engender competition in every sector of the economy.
On complaints that power supply has not improved significantly in the country since take over by the new owners, Dikki attributed it to sabotage, arising from gas pipeline vandalism and other operational problems like obsolete equipment. He however pleaded for more time for the power companies as transformation in the sector would not manifest overnight.
He maintained that despite the challenges, power supply had improved tremendously in the country since take over by the private investors less than one year ago.