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The Year Ends In Dwindling Power Supply

Egbin plant

Egbin plant

AS the year 2015 winds up in the next five days, the nation’s power sector has not witnessed any major development.
The story of darkness, overshadowing, the 36 states of the federation has continued. And few companies that managed to operate in the country have done so with much of their expenditure going into getting alternating power generation. No doubt, the epileptic power supply in the country has sent many companies parking away from Nigeria; relocated to other African countries.

Apart from the months of May and June, Nigerians hardly enjoy steady power supply all through the year.
As at today, over 56 per cent of the Nigerian populace (Approximately 97 million people) have no access to grid electricity and those who are connected to the grid, face constant power interruptions. Systemic issues affect all phases of the power value chain, from generation to distribution- thereby forcing many Nigerians to depend on Generating set. A recent study of power generation statistics between January and August 2015 conducted by the Power Advisory Group within the presidency showed that only 25% of Nigeria’s 12,522 MW of installed capacity reaches the end user. Most of the short fall, which was about 5,381 MW, is capacity that is unavailable due to obsolete equipment and poor maintenance or to ongoing maintenance and repair activities at existing power plants.
Also, about 3,262 MW is non-operational primarily due to gas, water, high frequency, and transmission line constraint generation.

A recent World Bank report also shows that an estimated 41 percent of Nigerian businesses generate their own power supply to augment the national grid supply. Nigeria lags far behind other developing nations in terms of grid- based electricity consumption with 126 kWh per capita. Based on the Nigeria’s GDP and global trends, electricity consumption should be at least five times higher than what it is today.

In the month of May, when the new administration took over the mantle of power, Nigerians across the whole states of the federation witnessed an improved power supply. Power was that stabled to an extent that an average Nigerians saw a ray of optimism with the new government, even when she has not invested anything in the power sector. Many believe that the body language of the President Buhari berthed the quick improvement experienced.

In May, the nation’s electricity distribution companies (Discos) also announced that pre-paid meters would be rolled out across the nation before the end of the following month as all necessary arrangements for their deployment have been concluded. This was disclosed by the Managing Director of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC), Mr. Abiodun Ajifowobaje, after the April meeting with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). The prepaid Meter is yet to go round the States, five days to the end of the year. According to him, the Discos have been doing a study for long on the type of meters that are suitable for a particular area and the distribution system, and then come out with a robust metering plan. IKEDC also distributed some new prepaid digital meters, which were mounted either on the electric poles or the front of the customer’s house. Though the exercise is yet to get across the whole houses in Lagos State; there were indication the exercise will be completed.

This month, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) also removed fixed charges for all classes of electricity consumers. This implies that the next billing period, distribution companies will no longer charge their customer’s monthly fixed charges. Fixed charge is that component of the tariff that commits electricity consumers to paying an approved amount of money not minding whether electricity is consumed during the billing period.
Even at that, Federal government still insisted that there would be upward review of the electricity tariffs.

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