The House of Representatives Committee on Commercialization and Privatization has commended Nigerian Engineers at Egbin Power Plc for their ingenuity to keep the plant functional despite challenges in the operations of the plant.
A statement by the Head, Public Communications, Chigbo Anichebe quoted the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Khadija Bukar Abba-Ibrahim to have made the commendation when the Committee visited the Egbin Electricity Power Plc in continuation of its oversight visit to new owners of Power Holding of Nigeria (PHCN) Successor Companies (SCs) in Lagos.
Hon. Abba-Ibrahim noted that despite the obsolete equipment and poor funding, the Nigerian Engineers were able to operate the plants to give maximum services to Nigerians before and after privatization.
She said that the Committee would engage other members of the National Assembly to ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) so that the current challenges in gas supply to power companies was overcome to ensure steady power supply in the country.
The Chairman noted that government had in the past invested heavily to ensure efficient and adequate power supply in the country and that the Committee would not relent until the objective was achieved.
She acknowledged the teething problems the new owners were facing but expressed the hope that these would be overcome with time as it was typical of new businesses.
Earlier, the Managing Director of Egbin Electricity Power Plc. Engr. Mike Uzoigwe informed the lawmakers that the new investors had invested over N7.3bn between November 1, 2013 and now to turn around the company.
He said to further revamp the company; the investors had earmarked another $4million for a total overhaul of the plant.
Despite the efforts to give the company a facelift, the MD decried the low remittance to the company from the Market Operator and urged the lawmakers to urgently intervene to make the electricity market attractive for investment.
He decried the situation where what was due to the company was N13bn to date but only N6.5bn was received, and that out of what was received, the company was owing the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) N5.3bn while it had spent N7.35bn on staff salaries and renovations.
Uzoigwe also called on the lawmakers to intervene to ensure that the entitlements of the former workers of the PHCN were fully paid as all remittances to that effect were understood to have been made to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) by the relevant government agencies.
Also at the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC), the Managing Director, Engr. Abiodun Ajifowobeje informed the lawmakers that the new investors had injected N700 million to upgrade facilities including sub-stations since take over.
He said the company planned to recruit 300 young Nigerians to take over the aging workforce and that IKEDC had dedicated 18 hours at its call Centre to take care of customers’ complaints and challenges.
The MD added that payment for electricity bills had been automated as customers could now buy their recharge cards on-line.
He said the greatest challenge faced by the company was urban planning as most of the houses in the area were built under high tension cables.