Electricity: Labour rejects unbundling of TCN - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Electricity: Labour rejects unbundling of TCN

.....says it ‘ll crumble power sector, threaten national security

Workers in the power sector have raised the alarm over the planned unbundling of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC. 

They warned that it would not only crumble the sector, but threaten national security.

Under the umbrella of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, called on the National Assembly, NASS, and Nigerians to resist the planned unbundling to save the nation from the imminent collapse of the power sector and avoid putting the nation’s security in danger.

In a petition to the Minister of Power, NUEE’s Acting General Secretary, Dominic Igwebike, among others, said: “We are alarmed by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, planned unbundling of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, as reported in the press release of May 1, 2024.

“Following the recent directive on the above subject, it is imperative to analyse the situation with its attendant consequences on the nation’s electricity supply industry.

“As a stakeholder in the sector, we express our dismay over the hasty decision to restructure the sub-sector, and the scheme to prepare it for eventual privatisation.

“Regrettably, the sector had been plunged into murky waters of unproductivity with its previous deregulation, hence, the decision to embark on another round of the exercise is, to say the least, disastrous.

“It is embarrassing to say that anybody in the name of privatisation will contemplate the continued disposal of critical national economic assets to private corporate organisations, who act as fronts for a few that have benefited immensely from the whole process since November 1, 2013, to the detriment of Nigerian masses.

“Almost 11 years after the privatisation of the power sector, there has not been any visible improvement in terms of power supply, expansion, or investments by the new owners of the DisCos and GenCos.

“This position has enjoyed wide attestation by Nigerians up to the National Assembly.

“The dismal performance of the sector has been attributed to the fundamental loopholes embedded in the privatisation arrangement which was designed to fail from the beginning.

“In the sector’s performance chain today, the transmission network with a wheeling capacity of 8,000MW has been strengthened to comfortably wheel out power generated by the generation companies whose average operational generation output is far below the total installed generation capacity (they are not generating full capacities).

“Nigerians have had to grapple with darkness as the DisCos reject energy wheeled to them by the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN.

“Why would the Federal Government want to unbundle TCN to privatise it despite the improvement made in terms of expansion and strengthened transmission network? 10 years post-privatisation, a dime has never been declared as profit for the government’s 40 percent asset ownership in the privatised companies to date.

“Yet it remains a pitiable tale of ‘Private Gain, Public Disaster’.

“Leaving the nation’s full power architecture with the proposed privatisation of TCN in the hands of private business owners who lack the expertise to own and run critical economic assets, poses serious security risk to the nation as we will be driven by the wimps and caprices of the ‘harvesters’.

“However, in the Federal Government’s drive towards developing a more efficient electricity sector, a decentralised grid system could be a panacea towards incessant grid collapse.

“A genuine robust consultation with stakeholders; not the fictitious claims in the print and electronic media as it is on record that the workers’ representatives in the sector have never been invited for such engagements, is paramount to move the electricity sector in the country forward.

“We urge the Federal Government to listen to the voice of reasoning not to embark on this journey capable of causing a total breakdown in the sector.

“We call on the National Assembly and Nigerians in general to resist the push for the sale of TCN which will further leave the nation with regrets.

“Besides, the plan to further enslave Nigerians based on hemlock prescriptions of the IMF, World Bank, and Britton Wood Institutions will meet the resistance of the masses and workers of Nigeria who lost their jobs in the thousands, some without pay and Nigerians who have been paying for darkness with the over 400 percent tariff increase for services not rendered.

“NERC should be more interested in ensuring that Nigerians have access to electricity, curb estimated bills, and mass metering of customers than increasing the poverty level in the country.

“With the worsening power supply situation, exploitative tariff imposition on toiling people of Nigeria, and over 300 percent increase in tariff, in the guise of Band A, the struggle will be between the oppressors and the oppressed.

“Going with the precedent, this unbundling will not translate into efficiency like the one before it. Consequently, we demand an immediate reversal of the directive, and convening of a stakeholders’ forum to critically evaluate the process and chart a positive course for total transformation of the sector.

“We want to reiterate our earlier position that the Government should reverse the tariff hike of Band A rather than reduce the amount. The Union is against discriminatory tariffs among Nigerians. This is a class difference between the poor and the rich, we are all Nigerians, and we deserve to have electricity.”
The petition added that “A stitch in time saves nine.”


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