By Sunday Etuka Abuja
The federal government said it has provided a grant of N37 billion to a private sector operator to supply meters to interested Distribution Companies (DisCos) in the country.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this at the 28th monthly meeting of power stakeholders in Kaduna.
He said government took advantage of the new Meter Asset Provider (MAP) regulations to give the grant.
However, the minister did not mention the name of the company, said the federal government provided the fund based on the demand for meters, given the increasing power generation, transmission and distribution in the country.
According to him, “As power supply continues to increase in Generation, Transmission and Distribution, the demand for meters will increase because more power supply and consumption will likely result in increased bills.
Fashola explained that, “Estimated billings in these circumstances will become a major cause of distrust and conflict between consumers and DisCos, and meters are the easiest way to build the bridge of trust.
“On the Executive side of government, we are responding by taking advantage of the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) regulations to deploy a fund of N37 billion toward supplying meters through private sector.
“I urge all DisCos who have not taken advantage of this opportunity to quickly do so, or make their own funding arrangements to contract their own meter providers to supply and install meters.”
The Minister commissioned60MVA and 2×60MVA transmission transformers in Zaria and Kaduna as part of the incremental power initiative of the Ministry.
The successful installation of the Mando, Zaria and Kakuri transformers had brought to Thirteen (13), the number of brand new power transformers successfully installed by TCN within the last four months.
He expressed confidence that the energised transformers would improve power supply to customers of Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company.
He said: “I visited the historic city of Zaria to commission the 60MVA Transformer added to the Zaria 132 KV substation to increase the transformer capacity from 140 MVA to 200 MVA.
“This will improve service to customers of Kaduna DisCo, our host, in places like Zaria City, SabonGari, Samaru, Giwa, Yakawada, Tudun Wada, Markafi, to mention a few.
“I also visited the Power House 132 KV Transmission Substation in Kaduna to commission 2 X 60 MVA Transformers to increase the transformer capacity from 190 MVA to 240 MVA.
“This will hopefully improve service of Kaduna DisCo to customers in places like Kaduna Township, Rigasa, Kakuri, Rigachukwu, Chikun, Sabon Tasha, to mention a few.
“I must commend TCN for these interventions that are being undertaken nationwide. Substation by substation, one by one, city by city, we are bringing incremental power close to the people, and this is change”, he said.
The Minister who said that the aim of the monthly power sector meeting was to solve local issues, alerted all the Distribution Companies (Discos) of the need to pay more attention to service delivery, repairs, and maintenance of equipment.
He said, the power companies must be prepared for a different weather season that will see more rainfall, thunderstorms, lightening and windstorms which he alerted would affect regular supply one way or another.
“Trees will fall and disrupt lines, poles and lines may be damaged, and service will be disrupted. In all these situations, we must prepare our staff to anticipate, plan, and respond.
“Most importantly, we must inform the public about the problems and what we are doing to restore service whenever there are disruptions.
“As a consumer myself, nothing gives me more comfort than when my service provider shares information about service disruptions.
“It tells me quickly that at least somebody knows that there is a problem, and gives me hope that something is being done about it”, he said.
He pointed estimated billing and lack of meters as the bigger and compelling issue of the sector which must be resolved in the interest of the consumers.
Fashola said, as power supply continues to increase in Generation, Transmission and Distribution, the demand for meters will increase because more power supply and consumption will likely result in increased bills.
“Estimated billings in these circumstance will become a major cause of distrust and conflict between consumers and DisCos, and meters are the easiest way to build the bridge of trust”, he said.
“Let me be clear that every DisCo is affected, and every DisCo needs to respond by providing meters quickly and seeking to end estimated billing, which is subjective, discretionary, and prone to abuse”, he said.
He said the commitment to better service delivery by improving infrastructure, as mandated by President Buhari, continues.
TCN said that the company is working hard to ensure that it puts in place N-1 capacity in its transmission substations nationwide.
The Company said, with the installation of the new 150MVA 132/33kV power transformer in Mando, the capacity of the substation increased from 540MVA on 330kV level to 690MVA.
“This has increased power supply to Kaduna DisCo load centers which now has available, more electricity to supply directly to electricity customers in Kaduna Metropolis, Kaduna North and some parts of Kano State”, the company said.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kaduna Electric, Engr. GarbaHaruna said, the Electricity supply in the area is between 10hours and 15hours, but that with the energised transformers, supply would hit 24hours.