President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that the tariff shortfalls in the power sector being shouldered by the Federal Government are no longer sustainable.

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Buhari made the disclosure on Thursday at the inauguration of Eko Electricity Distribution Company’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)-Distribution Management System Centre in Lagos.

He said the SCADA system would help EKEDC monitor and respond more quickly to faults and reduce outage durations, thereby improving the quality of service to customers.

The President, who was represented by the Minister of Power, Mr Sale Mamman, added that his administration remained committed to addressing the liquidity challenges that were adversely affecting the power sector’s viability.

“We have noted with grave concern the increased fiscal burden on the Federal Government occasioned by the tariff shortfalls in the sector which are no longer sustainable,” he said.

He said the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Power Assistance Fund targeted at supporting tariff shortfalls could no longer be extended and must be phased out to promote the sector’s financial independence.

Buhari said, “We are also aware that these tariff shortfalls sit on Discos’ books and impair their ability to raise capital and invest.

“The Federal Government is working assiduously to address these financial and fiscal challenges through various programmes such as the National Mass Metering Programme, the Siemens AG Power Project and the World Bank Distribution Sector Recovery Programme, etc.”

He stressed the need to ensure an alignment of capacity and attraction of investments across the generation, transmission and distribution components of the power sector’s value chain.

The President said the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Power, had inaugurated several projects to address challenges of the critical power infrastructure in the country.

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The Chairman, Board of Directors, EKEDC, Mr Charles Momoh, described the SCADA project as an integral part of Disco’s strategic business plan towards addressing the distribution challenges within five years of the power sector’s privatisation.

“With the support of the 2015 NEMS facility, we immediately prioritised this project for execution, spanning over three phases and currently controls 14 injection substations in addition to the monitoring of 1,000 distribution transformers,” he added.

He said the power firm implemented the project as part of efforts to improve operational efficiency, revenue generation and reduction of its aggregate technical, commercial and collection losses.

EKEDC, in a statement by its General Manager, Corporate Communications, Mr Godwin Idemudia, said the project was funded by the Central Bank of Nigeria through the Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility and implemented through a partnership with Tech Systems Limited, and a Canadian-based firm, M/S Survalent Technology.

The Managing Director, Tech Systems Limited, Dr Walter Olatunde, said the company considered it a privilege to partner with EKEDC in using technology as the path to a reliable and efficient customer satisfaction.

The MD/Chief Executive Officer, EKEDC, Mr Adeoye Fadeyibi, said the Disco remained committed to improving its services and customer satisfaction.

He said more projects aimed at actualising the desired stable electricity supply were underway.