Power Africa, a U.S. government-led initiative, is to partner with the Ibadan Distribution Company (IBED) to improve access to electricity in Oyo.

The initiative is a new five-year American presidential initiative launched by President Barack Obama in Tanzania during his Africa Tour in July 2013.

The initiative aims at supporting economic growth and development by increasing access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable power in Africa.

The programme is designed as a multi-stakeholder partnership among the governments of the U.S, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana and Liberia, the US and the African private sector.

According to a statement by the U.S. Embassy on Friday in Abuja, Roseann Casey, the Power Africa representative for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)/Nigeria said the partnership would include technical and managerial support to the IBEDC, in its efforts to reduce energy losses and increase revenue.

She said IBEDC provides electricity to five states in the southwest.

“Power Africa initiated similar support to three distribution companies (DISCOs) in Abuja (AEDC), Benin (BEDC), and Lagos (EKEDC) in 2016, with substantial success to date.

“Power Africa’s support to the four distribution companies represents a 12 million dollars investment in the self-reliance and resilience of Nigeria’s energy sector and demonstrates USAID’s position as the world’s premier international development agency.

“Aggregate energy losses have been reduced at each DISCO, and revenue collection increased by 27 billion Naira (83 million dollars) in 2017,” she said.

She said: “higher-performing DISCOs contribute to a more robust energy sector in Nigeria by ensuring that power generators are compensated for electricity supply.

“And, that generated power is not “lost” or “stranded” by lack of distribution and transmission capacity, and by attracting private investment in new electricity infrastructure.”

According to her enhancing technical and operational efficiency, reducing losses, and making it easier to collect payment will boost the bottom line at DISCOs., inject cash into the energy value chain.

She said that this would also help DISCOs to attract investment for electricity expansion projects that will benefit people and businesses across the country.

The representative said that similar to the support to the first three DISCOs, USAID would provide technical support to the IBEDC to develop and implement a turnaround plan for the distribution company.

The partnership between Power Africa and IBEDC was formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed during a ceremony held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta.

The agreement was signed by Llyr Rowlands, Chief of Party for the Power Africa Transactions and Reforms Program and John Donnachie, Managing Director of IBEDC.