The Federal Government on Friday handed over Egbin, Ikeja and Eko Electricity Distribution companies in Lagos State to the new investors.
Vice President Namadi Sambo, who handed over the stations, said that the participation of the private sector would bring about higher generation capacity.
Sambo said that the handing over would bring about cost effective power stations and improvement in electricity distribution.
According to him, today's handover concludes the transactions for the four generation companies and 10 distribution companies.
"The challenges facing the electricity sector in Nigeria are enormous, but we are equally convinced that the opportunities in the sector are enormous.
"The Federal Government is committed to create an enabling environment that will sensitise private investors to take on the challenges," he said.
Sambo said that the power reform programme had become imperative to improve efficiency, reduce losses and cost.
Represented by Mr Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Sambo reiterated that the reform would lead to increased access to electricity.
"Nevertheless, let me state clearly here that both the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) and Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) will continually monitor the operations of the successor companies.
"These agencies will not hesitate to sanction any core investor that does not deliver on the performance agreement with the government," Sambo added.
The Chief Executive Officer, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Mr Oladele Amoda, said that the privitisation of the power sector was a good development.
Amoda said the task ahead, no doubt might appear quite intimidating, but with the courage of the first step being taken today, no doubt would succeed.
"We cannot but also congratulate the Federal Government for this landmark achievement.
"What appeared like an impossible task when it began almost a decade ago is today ending on a very happy and hopeful note.
"The transparency of the whole process left no one in doubt about the sincerity of government and its manifest adherence to global best practice," Amoda said.
The Eko Disco Investor, Mr Charles Momoh, said the company had the responsibility to light up Lagos and keep it, saying: "this is the task before us, which we must do and do profitably".
According to him, the investor, West Power & Gas, is committed to spending over 250 million dollars (about N38 billion) on the station in the next two years.
"We are going to invest in metering, cleaning up the system, cablings, transformers and making sure that everything is in line with what we have specified.
"It's not going to be enough, but we will start with that. One-step at a time. Our strategy is to continue to improve the system and eventually we will get there," Momoh said.
NAN reports that the other two DISCO-Ikeja, Disco and Egbin Power Station - were owned by KEPCO Consortium.
While In Abuja
The Federal Government on Friday handed over the Abuja Distribution Company Plc (DISCO) to its new owner, KANN Consortium Utility Company Ltd.
Vice President Namadi Sambo, who handed over the DISCO, said that the event was to formally hand over the physical assets of the old PHCN to their new owners.
Sambo, who is also the Chairman of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), said that the assets were the property of five Generation Companies and 11 Distribution Companies.
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, represented Sambo at the occasion.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the privatised generating companies are Geregu Power Plc, Ughelli Power Plc, Egbin Power Plc, Kainji Hydro Electric Plc and and Shiroro Hydro Electric Power Plc.
The 10 privatised Distribution Companies (Disco) are located in Abuja, Benin, Eko, Ibadan, Ikeja, Jos, Kano, Port-Harcourt, Yola and Enugu.
Sambo noted that the successful handover was made possible by President Goodluck Jonathan's unparalleled leadership and commitment to ensure that there was provision of stable power by the present administration to people.
He said that the event was taking place simultaneously at the headquarters of the state capitals across the country.
Sambo explained that the handover was borne out 14 years of painstaking efforts by NCP and the Bureau of Public Enterprises.
He noted that Nigeria would not attain its desired economic growth without adequate power supply, adding that this informed the power sector reforms.
Sambo said that the critical programme began in 1999 with the inauguration of the Electricity Power Implementation Committee which led to the development of the National Electricity Power Policy of 2001.
He explained that the enactment of the Electricity Power Sector Reforms Act of 2005, and the establishment of PHCN were to reinforce the repeal of the defunct NEPA Act.
Sambo said that the new Act made it possible to create 18 companies by unbundling PHCN into three categories namely generation six companies, transmission one company and the distribution 11 companies.
He said that 2005 Act changed the legal and regulatory environment for the power sector in Nigeria and sought to create a sustainable electricity supply industry to the country.
According to the Vice President, the reform is a necessary tool for laying a solid foundation for sustainable power generation and service efficiency in the sector.
Sambo said that the opening of the industry to private hands would create job opportunities, improve efficiency also engender private sector investment among others.
He said that the challenges facing the sector were enormous as well as its benefits, noting that government would create enabling environment that would suit the investors.
Earlier, Alhaji Shehu Malami, the Chairman of Board of Directors of KANN Consortium Ltd., called on Nigerians and all stakeholders in the industry to exercise patience for the new successor companies.
NAN reports that so far, out of the 16 successor companies scheduled for handover, a total of 2.5 billion dollars was realised as proceeds.
The Sapele Generation Company was not affected by the exercise because the NCP directed its legal committee to undertake a comprehensive legal review of the status of the company.