Gas shortage, others contribute N44.3bn power sector loss

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By Ngozi Egenuka with agency report

The Nigerian privatised power sector, last month, lost a total of N44.38 billion revenue due to constraints which included shortage of gas, grid unreliability and distribution limitations. As a result, the average volume of electricity generated and distributed daily to Nigerian homes and offices was 4148 megawatts (MW) per day, while an average of 3302MW was constrained from getting to consumers by these limitations.

According to data released by the advisory power team in the office of Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s power sector attained a peak generation of about 5,375MW on February 7, 2019 – the first ever, but has not produced power up to that level since then.

The report said that Egbin generated 422.64MW during the period as against its installed capacity of 1320MW, Kainji; 382.46, Jebba; 321.03MW, while ASCO and AES did not generate anything during the period. The data also included the total volume of gas supplied by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to gas power generation plants in the country for the February period as 21,521 million standard cubic feet (mmscf).

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has put the number of consumers with prepaid meters at 1.67 million customers at the end of Q4 2018, 1.00% increase from 1.65 million customers in Q3 2018.

According to Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), six out of every 10 users of grid-generated electricity supplied by the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) in Nigeria have remained without meter, necessitating the approval of 115 private operators to participate in its (Meter Assets Provider) MAP programme.

According to NBS, Abuja Disco has the highest number of customers metered, closely followed by Benin Disco and Eko Disco while Yola Disco recorded the least total number of customers metered.

The NERC had stated that the non-availability of meters to this number of power users was sustaining the Discos’ practice of estimated billing, and indicated it was about to introduce a regulation to cap estimated bills given every month to consumers by the Discos.

NERC as part of measures to improve quantity of electrical energy, urged electricity distribution licensees to submit details of transmission challenges limiting the off-take of energy as well as matching projects being implemented by the utilities to improve quantity of the energy.

NERC is expected to review and monitor the operationalisation of the Merit Dispatch Order of generation plants taking into account dynamic load forecast and contractual terms underpinning the Power Purchase Agreements, as well as review the disconnect between energy received by DisCos and market remittance and to ensure that the practice of discretionary upstream payments are eliminated.

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