Despite the widespread complaints over poor business climate, Nigerian electricity power distribution companies (DisCos) have reported that they recorded N127 billion revenue collection in the first quarter of 2020. The figure represented 10% increase compared to the performance of the sector this same time the previous year.

The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) said in a statement that the energy billed by the distribution companies was 5,768 gigawatt-hours (equivalent to N187 billion), out of the 6,911 GWh it received in the same quarter. “The collection in Q1 2020 hit a new record of N127 billion, 10% more than the same quarter last year,” ANED said.

The group said however that the energy sent out by the power firms in the first quarter of this year was much less than what was projected at the last minor review for 2020. The group regretted that the downstream operators are still being stifled by critical issues such as the lack of spinning reserve and load misalignment with Discos.

Other problems facing the DisCos include the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) interface issues, the delays in the implementation of TCN´s expansion plan and absence of investment in Discos’ infrastructure.

“The oft-bandied issue of load rejection by Discos seemingly seeks to hide all of the above issues. The Disco’s uncertainty on the energy to be received from the TCN has become a major threat and it will hurt the core of their performance improvement plans as many of them are based on the basis of the projections done by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission at June’s Minor Review 2019.

“Importantly, only three Discos (EKEDC, IBEDC and IE) received more energy than the same quarter of the previous year. On the other hand, several Discos received less energy,” ANED stated.

The pointed out that the number of end users in the industry keeps increasing at a stunning rate of about 75,000 new customers per month, a situation that has resulted to additional 9.5 million customers nationwide.

“Delays/barriers in the implementation of the Meter Asset Providers regulation is making the metering gap to grow, with almost 59.7% of the end-users unmetered. Since 2015, there has been no significant improvement in the energy generated and wheeled by the TCN that is finally received by the Discos. It continues to be flat and is only mainly affected by a seasonal effect between the dry and rainy seasons,” the Discos group said.

Since the conclusion of the privatisation exercise of the erstwhile Power Holding Company of Nigeria in the last quarter of 2013, there had been little or no further investment in the sector, less what the promoters of the power distribution and generation companies presented before they took off.

The investors insist they are still grappling with the old problems in the sector, including gas supply shortages, limited distribution networks, limited transmission line capacity, huge metering gap.

By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

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