The federal government has asked power generation companies (GenCos) to find eligible customers for its product as the payment for shortfalls might end soon.
Speaking at a workshop on eligible customer regulation in Abuja on Tuesday, Louis Edozien, permanent secretary of the ministry of power, works and housing, said it is no longer sustainable for GenCos to complain of stranded power when there are customers willing to buy it.
He lamented that no licensed customer has benefitted from the eligible customer policy directive two years after it was unveiled.
On March 1, 2017, the federal government approved the sum of N701 billion as power assurance guarantee fund for the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET) to pay for the electricity produced by the generation companies (GenCos) to the national grid for the period of two years starting from January 2017 to December, 2018.
“The purpose of this gathering is to give full effect to the (eligible customer) policy direction unveiled by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, in 2017,” he said.
“With the policy, if you are a bulk consumer in the power sector and you are not satisfied with the services you are getting, you’ve been empowered under the Act to buy the power from an existing licencee and have it transmitted and delivered to you.
“It is a bit disheartening that though we are almost two years after that policy direction, not one fully licensed eligible customer is enjoying this regulation. So, I have messages for all the people here so that we can from today move forward much more expeditiously to effect what the minister intended almost two years ago.
“I have a message to Gencos, gone are the days where you could on your own or through your association or investors agitate about not being paid or not being able to sell your products. Since 2017, the Federal Government established a policy to pay you where you are not paid and that policy still subsists.
“But it is also not obtainable any longer for you to complain about not being able to sell your 2,000 megawatts. Go, find the customers who need it and sell it to them. That is what this regulation now authorises and empowers you to do. Don’t sit back and expect that government will perpetually be buying your power. No!”
“Government does not consume your power; the NBET is not the consumer of your power. Eligible customers are the consumers of your power, find them, (enter) contract with them. That’s the essence of this policy.
“The government, through the payment assurance programme, is paying the generation companies for shortfalls in payments through the NBET and clearly that is not what the Act intended for the industry today. And ultimately the government has to exit from this role.”