BPE Dispels Rumour On BEDC, DISCOs’ Licence Renewal

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The Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Alex Okoh has declared that contrary to insinuations, there is indeed nothing ongoing in terms of contract or licence renewal for any of the distribution companies (Discos), including BEDC Electricity Plc.
In a statement from BEDC, following a news conference in Benin, Edo State capital, Okoh was quoted to have appealed to civil society groups, residents and all stakeholders in the BEDC franchise areas to exercise restraint and allow the company perform its functions without any hindrance.
The clarification comes even as he described BEDC as one of the best managed discos, saying, “The government respects contracts and would not do anything to jeopardise the operations of companies that the Federal Government had willingly entered into agreements with, including the Discos”.
“We have followed the development in Benin Disco with keen interest, and indeed the attention of the Bureau has been drawn to certain erroneous information over the purported renewal of the licences issued to the Discos, including BEDC Electricity Plc for the purpose of retail distribution of electricity”.
While clarifying the difference between a performance agreement review, and what has been purported as a review of the operating licence of the Disco, Okoh disclosed that the performance agreement stipulates the milestones that the core investors should achieve within a specified period.
However, he said the issue of licensing is a different matter altogether, and is being handled by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
According to him, all discos sold were thus also required to acquire NERC licence in addition to purchasing the privatised company and its assets.
He added, “For BEDC, there is an existing 15 years NERC licence broken into 10 years plus five year, with another 10 years renewal option at the end of the 15 years period i.e. licence of up to 25 years”.
He explained that the Federal Government was pursuing a comprehensive power sector recovery programme that would address the challenges of the sector, including those faced by customers under the Benin franchise areas.
Okoh added that government was equally working with its international partners to reposition the power sector, saying BEDC in particular has benefited from the services of such institutions like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), aimed at getting the best electricity services to the people.
In her update across the franchise states, the Managing Director/CEO, BEDC Plc, Mrs Funke Osibodu, disclosed that 27 applications were received for the Meter Asset Provider (MAP), adding that after screening, seven were currently going through the financial bid review process.
On the Ondo South network rehabilitation project, she disclosed that the Federal Government, through the National Independent Power Project (NIPP), has joined forces with BEDC for the speedy rehabilitation of the whole network.
“According to the new schedule of the joint effort, the first phase is from Ore junction to Okitipupa, where 19 communities had been connected to the grid in Ondo South, including Ore, Odigbo, Adaja and Liyetu among others.
In Ondo North, 34 communities have been connected including Gedegede, Ikun, Eriti, Oke-Agbe, Ikare, Arigidi, Oba-Akoko and Ikaram among others.
Speaking on the disruption of power supply in some areas, Osibodu explained that for the affected areas such as Evbuotubu, Oliha, Uwelu, Ikpoba dam, Okhoro, Upper lawani and part of GRA, BEDC had put in place a contingency plan to connect customers in the affected areas to existing functional feeders.
This is on a temporary measure pending when the faulty power transformer will either be repaired or replaced.