Group urges FG to reverse power sector privatisation over epileptic supply

An electricity consumer group, ‘Where’s the Light Movement,’ has called on the Federal Government to reverse the power sector privatisation policy for failing to achieve its set goals.

The group said the sector should be returned to public ownership under democratic control and management of workers and electricity consumers.

Sina Odugbemi, the convener of the group, who briefed newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos, urged the government to take a bold step to reverse the privatisation and take charge of the sector.

Odugbemi said Nigerians had not experienced the desired objectives of available, accessible and affordable electricity supply for the past seven years of privatising the sector.

“The only way forward is for government to reverse the privatisation policy and bring back the power sector under exclusive public ownership.

“We are advocating for democratic control and management of workers and consumers in a more transparent manner.

“The reversal will help to check looting of public funds, mismanagement, nepotism, inefficiency among others to sustain the growth and development of the sector including guaranteeing uninterrupted and affordable electricity supply to all Nigerians,’’ he said.

Odugbemi noted that the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos), the Generation Companies (GenCos) and the Transmission Company of Nigeria had to demonstrate sufficient technical and financial capacity to solve the sector’s challenges.

“The social welfare and right of all Nigerians must be guaranteed at all times in accordance with Section 14 (1) (b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended).

“Section 14 (1b) states that ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government.’

“Provision of Light enhances comfort, wellbeing, productivity and security of lives and property of citizens; absence or inadequacy of electricity to the citizens negates the purpose and the spirit of Article 14 (1) (b) of 1999 constitution,” said Odugbemi.

He noted that in spite of the billions of naira sunk into the sector by the government since it was privatised in November 2013, 46 per cent of Nigerians were yet to be connected to the national grid.

“Those connected to the national grid cannot boast of enjoying quality supply. Electricity is life, it is extremely instrumental to production, services, education, healthcare, wellbeing among others,” Odugbemi said.

According to him, apart from reversing the privatisation policy, the tariff should be reviewed downward to N21 per kilowatt with no further increment due to the current economic realities in the country.

He called for metering of all electricity consumers, adding that estimated billing should be stopped and all debts accumulated by consumers as a result of the “crazy bills” should be cancelled.

He also called for life insurance policies for electricity workers as well as massive public investment in the power sector to guarantee uninterrupted power supply to all Nigerians.

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