Boko Haram Menace: PHCN Workers Seek Mass Transfer

Boko Haram Menace: PHCN Workers Seek Mass Transfer

Workers of the successor companies unbundled from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) are seeking mass transfer from the northern part of the country as a result of the state of insecurity created by the Boko Haram religious sect.

Boko Haram Menace: PHCN Workers Seek Mass Transfer

Besides, the officials of electricity generation and distribution companies in the affected states are complaining about the dip in revenue generation as customers of the utility companies are unwilling to pay their electricity bills despite persuasion by the companies.

It was also gathered that the chief executive officers (CEOs) of generation and distribution companies from the north complained about the situation when the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, had a meeting with them, heads of parastatals of the power industry and the leadership of the ministry in Abuja.

An official of the Power ministry, who spoke in confidence, said: "The officials in charge of power facilities in the northern parts of the country complained about the peculiar problems created by the security situation in the region.

"They told the minister that the security situation in the region is adversely affecting their operations and income generation as most corporate consumers have closed shops. There is serious apathy for payment of electricity bills by the customers. There is mass request for transfer by the workers as well as irregular work attendance for fear of attack."

According to the source, the CEOs noted that service delivery and revenue generation had been hampered by the high incidence of illegal re-connection and evasion of payment by some consumers in different parts of the country.

The source added that the development may affect the power sector privatisation programme of the Federal Government as investors in the power assets in the north may decide to withdraw.

On the strength of the complaints of the CEOs, the minister was said to have set up an action committee chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Dr. Godknows Igali, to look at the issues and report to him for presentation to the Presidency.

The follow-up action committee, it was gathered, was inaugurated with seven terms of reference, which include the setting up of timelines for the attainment of the various key performance indicators; drawing up an executive summary for work and possible submission to Mr President and the Federal Executive Council (FEC), among others.

The minister, it was gathered, re-assured the CEOs that measures were being taken to ensure adequate funding, especially their imprest, urging them to work harder at their revenue-generation efforts.

Other issues that were discussed at the meeting include how to move the privatisation programme forward, settle outstanding labour issues, fast-track work on ongoing power projects, strengthen the transmission profile by ensuring the inauguration of the Supervisory Board of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), and finalising management issues for the company.

Nebo reiterated the government's resolve to generate 40,000MW by 2020, and praised the efforts the Niger Delta Power Holding Company to delivering on the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP).

He acknowledged the indispensable roles of the CEOs and other heads of the ministry's agencies in the task of accomplishing the Federal Government's aspirations in the power sector.

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