By NBF News
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 Former Presidential Adviser on Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji

The eagerly anticipated sale of the 18 successor companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria will not happen this year again because the timetable has been revised by the Federal Government.

Instead, the sale will begin in February 2012 at the earliest, the Bureau of Public Enterprises has announced.

The spokesman of the privatisation agency, Mr. Chukwuma Nwokoh, made the announcement in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday.

The BPE had in August 2010 said that each of the companies would have been sold by May 29, 2011, at the expiration of the first term of the late President Umaru Yar'Adua's administration.

But Nwokoh said on Thursday that the bid evaluation process for the power generation firms would be completed on February 14, 2012, while that for the distribution companies would be completed on February 28, 2012.

The PHCN successors include 11 distribution companies, six generation companies and one transmission company - the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

Nwokoh said given the imperative of finalising industry agreements and the Multi-Year-Tariff-Order, BPE had revised the transaction timetable for the privatisation of the successor companies.

He said that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and other key stakeholders were working towards finalising the industry agreements and the MYTO.

He added that a lot of work was being undertaken to set up the Bulk Trader and conclude the subsidy structure.

Based on these factors and with the intention to create an optimal environment for investors, the bureau decided to revise the transaction timetable after consultations with key stakeholders in the electric power sector, Nwokoh explained.

The revised timetable also includes an extension of the deadline to confirm the intention to bid and pay the due fees for the Requests for Proposal documents.

Nwokoh said, 'Under the revised timetable, draft industry agreements will be posted on August 15, 2011. The deadline for bidders to confirm intention to bid and pay $20,000 for purchase of RFP documents is August 26, 2011.

'The issuance of RFP and Information Memorandum documents will be undertaken on September 1, 2011. The access to virtual data room begins on September 1, 2011.'

He added, 'The pre-due diligence conference will hold on September 16, 2011, while bidders' site visits are scheduled for between September 19, 2011 and January 16, 2012. The transaction and industry review conference will hold between October 4 and 5, 2011, while the pre-bid conference is scheduled for November 21, 2011.

'The deadline for the submission of bids for the generation companies is January 16, 2012, whereas the deadline for the submission of bids for the distribution companies is January 30, 2012.'

The 11 distribution companies that are up for sale include the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Benin Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc; and Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company Plc.

Others are Jos Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Kano Electricity Distribution Company Plc; Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company Plc; and Yola Electricity Distribution Company Plc.

The thermal power stations are the Ughelli Power Plc in Delta State with total installed capacity of 972 megawatts, Geregu Power Plc in Kogi State with a total installed capacity of 414 MW, Afam Power Plc comprising Afam I-V power stations located in Rivers State with combined installed capacity of 776MW; and the Sapele Power Plc in Delta State with installed capacity of 1,020MW.

The hydro power generating companies are the Kainji Power Plc comprising Kainji Power Plants and Jebba Power Plants, Kwara State, and the Shiroro Power Plc located at the Shiroro Gorge, Niger State.

Potential bidders, according to BPE, should be existing power distribution companies or core investor groups with power distribution companies as long-term technical partners.

Successful bidders will be responsible for operating the distribution companies and making necessary investments to improve the distribution network and customer service in line with the objectives of the Federal Government as set out in the National Electric Power Policy.