Power Minister Advocates Willing Buyers/Sellers Arrangement In Power Sector
… As Egbin Inaugurates 220mw
BEVERLY HILLS, December 13, (THEWILL) – Minister of Power, Housing and Works, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has advocated for willing buyers and sellers arrangement in the power sector, saying the arrangement will spur up other investors to invest in the sector and enhance efficiency among operators.
“If there is willing buyer and willing seller we must allow the economics to take place,” he said, saying this is the new learning the regulators must take, as “this would help to free power and give more of it to those that cannot pay the bill on dedicated lines. Ultimately, the market will find it level.”
The minister, who spoke at the commissioning of a 220-megawatt unit of the Egbin Power plant in which 100mw of it is dedicated to Eko Electricity Distribution Company weekend, said all debts the power sector was being owed must be paid by the government agencies responsible, saying all hands must be on deck to ensure the sector was sufficiently funded.
He said all verifiable and legal debts owed would be paid, and praised the initiative by the management of Egbin Power plc for dedicating the 100mw to the distributing company, urging it to dedicate supplies to those customers that could afford to pay the tariff.
He said “if Eko can take power and dedicate it to those that can pay slightly higher cost, it would be a good thing and the electricity regulators should begin to accommodate this type of arrangement.
“If we agree to this concept and the more of those willing buyers and sellers key-in into the idea, the government would look at their proposals and if there is no element of profiteering contained there in and they are fair economics, it would adjust its own mind set,” he said.
Kola Adesina, chairman, Egbin Power plc, while welcoming the minister, said that a special allocation, similar to what obtained in the nation's oil and gas industry, was necessary in the power sector to provide foreign exchange to industry players for the procurement of essential materials.
The chairman, who noted the dollar scarcity was one of the critical issues bedevilling their operations, said, “At the point of acquisition of these (power) assets, the exchange rate was N155.76 to a dollar. Today, official exchange rate is N199, and that N199 is not even readily available to those of us that work in this sector.”
He said the power plant the minister came inaugurated was largely run with offshore equipment, spares and tools, and these spares could only be procured in dollars.