Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) are averse to any discussion around breaking their monopoly in the power sector despite poor electricity supply in different parts of the country.
DisCos have kicked against granting of licenses to companies or communities with interest in procuring the Independent Electricity Distribution Network (IEDN) and even resolved to sue whoever is involved in what they have described as network encroachment.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), on March 7, 2012, signed two regulations – IEDN and Embedded Generation 2012.
The regulations are to enable communities, local/state government as well as private investors to generate and distribute electricity without recourse to the national grid. The regulations also make it easier for companies to participate with various options available.
However, there have been disputes arising from the regulations. In a newspaper advertisement, Eko DisCo warned a private company, PIPP LVI Distribution Limited, to remove all the lines it laid on its network and cease from soliciting further business from its customers.
Also, Ikeja Electric accused Cummins Power Generation Nigeria Limited (CPGNL) of tampering with its distribution infrastructure.
Likewise, Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) has petitioned NERC against granting of an independence license to Asaba Distribution Limited (ADL).
BEDC approached the court for a reprieve, saying ADL is challenging its capacity to supply adequate electricity to customers in its area of jurisdiction.
The suit contained an order of perpetual injunction restraining ADL from distributing electric power in any guise or manner to the areas covered under BEDC’s distribution licence, including but not limited to core areas of Asaba, Delta State such as Summit Road, Anwai Road, Government House, Cabinet Road, New General Hospital Area, Okpanam Road and NTA Road.
BEDC averred in the suit that it has the capacity to and has in fact been supplying adequate and sufficient electricity that meets the demand of the Delta State Government for whom the IEDN license has been procured for.
Sometimes, it is the consumers themselves that kick against the territorial exclusivity of the Discos.
Stakeholders in the sector are of the opinion that NERC is stifling competition in the power sector and weak in its regulatory responsibility.
Moreso, founder of All Electricity Consumer’s Protection Forum, Adeola Samuel’s comment has contradicted BEDC’s claim. He said BEDC has not lived up to its expectation in service delivery to its customers.
He hinted that a town in Ondo State has been without power supply for several years even before the advent of BEDC, yet the company did not bother to leverage the situation for an expansion but embarked on extortionist billings.
He added that the distribution company has violated its performance agreement without consequences, adding that the review of the agreement was due after five years with the provision for one more year extension, which expired in 2019, but NERC still failed to act.
He added that by virtue of that agreement and clause, the acceptance of Asaba DisCo might be due to a review of the performance of BEDC, which is below par, hence the entry of another company.
He said it was not out of place if BEDC was singled out for such performance review, as the incidents in the area are louder in low delivery than any other DisCos