Written by Austine ELEMUE

Bello appeals to NERC for improved power supply in FCT

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello, has appealed to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, for an improvement in the supply of electricity to the Federal Capital City. 

Bello, who made this plea when he received the NERC chairman, Professor James Momoh during a courtesy visit, said electricity supply is a major challenge in FCT because of the many roads and streets requiring streets lights and the poor allocation of power from the suppliers. 

He suggested that one way out of this challenge could be the dedication of mini grids to power strategic roads and facilities, adding that it is critical that FCT has first class power supply system. 

While welcoming his guests, Bello stressed that there has been significant progress in power generation and supply nationwide, since the onset of the President Muhammadu Buhari's administration. 

“No doubt about it, there is substantial improvement in power, which is a reflection of government policy, government direction and the drive in of the Discos, Gencos, Transcos and you the regulator”, he observed. 

According to him, FCT records over 9 percent population growth rate annually and there is need to match infrastructure development with growth, regretting that funding is a challenge. 

The FCT Minister recalled that before the unbundling and subsequent privatization of power inindustry, FCT had made substantial investment in power infrastructure, adding that the move necessitated discussions on how investments done in the past could be refunded. 

Bello explained that states that gave asset to Discos are also customers and should be on the board of NERC so that they are part of decision making, just as he observed that Discos are not doing much in terms of backroom support and maintenance and protection of these assets. 

He consented to the request by Momoh and the diaspora scientists to partner with FCTA to build a research institute, and offered to make space available for that purpose inside the Abuja University of Technology, Abaji. 

Earlier, the chairman had proposed providing support in implementing demand side management across FCTA facilities in order to reduce electricity bills as well as space to establish an energy research institute to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the FCT. 

While listing challenges faced by NERC in discharging its mandate, which include customers not enjoying reliable service with nearly 50 percent not having metres and the prevalent estimated billing system,

Momoh said the commission would not relent in its efforts to ensure that every home is supplied with affordable, accessible and reliable power. 

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