FG to sell Abuja, Ibadan, Benin, Kaduna, Kano DisCos, Revokes $200m Metering Contract


As Nigeria grapples with persistent blackouts, the Federal Government has announced plans to sell off the five electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) and has revoked a $200 million metering contract awarded since 2021.

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Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, emphasized that banks and the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), which have been managing these DisCos due to loan defaults, lack the necessary technical expertise. The sale to reputable technical power operators is expected to be completed within three months.

The affected DisCos include Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) managed by the United Bank of Africa (UBA), Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, and Kano Electricity Distribution Company managed by Fidelity Bank. The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IEDC) is under AMCON management.

The blackout situation has persisted across states, with DisCos attributing it to low grid allocations and gas shortages to generating companies (GenCos).

Adelabu, while addressing the Senate Committee on Power in Abuja, stressed the need for expert management of energy distribution assets. He highlighted that tough decisions regarding the DisCos have become imperative as their failure impacts the entire Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

He indicated that the Ministry of Power would push the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to revoke underperforming licenses and possibly overhaul DisCo management boards. Adelabu also announced the government’s intention to sell off DisCos currently managed by AMCON and banks within the next three months.

Responding to the decision, Senator Isah Jibrin raised concerns about asset stripping by some DisCo operators and urged that revoked DisCos be compelled to restore assets to their original state.

Adelabu also disclosed the revocation of a $200 million metering contract, mobilized by a company named Messr Zigglass since 2021, which has failed to deliver. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu directed the contract’s cancellation. Adelabu assured that the government aims to bridge the eight million metering gap within the next four to five years, with funding support from the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

Additionally, the Senate Committee visited the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), where Managing Director Sule Abdulaziz sought assistance in securing funds for over 120 projects. He highlighted challenges related to right of way and vandalism, emphasizing the need for increased budgetary allocations.

Addressing reporters, Committee Chairman Senator Eyinaya Abaribe pledged to engage with the Federal Government to settle outstanding debts to gas suppliers and ensure progress on infrastructure projects. The committee also plans to scrutinize the implementation of World Bank projects and revisit penalties for power asset vandalism.

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