•Losses hit N65.6bn in April
By Udeme Akpan
Nigeria’s power sector has suffered a major setback as losses associated with insufficient gas supply distribution infrastructure and transmission infrastructure increased last month.
Data obtained by Vanguard, from the Advisory Power Team, Office of the Vice President, indicated that the value of the losses is N65.64 billion in April 2020, about 33.6 percent up from N49.1 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2019.
Meanwhile, the situation has not shown improvement as the most recent report stated: “On May 7, 2020, average energy sent out was 4,441 MWH/Hour (up by 11 MW from the previous day).
“The power sector lost an estimated N1.9 billion on May 7, 2020 due to constraints from insufficient gas supply, distribution infrastructure and transmission infrastructure.”
Investigations by Vanguard showed that the poor state of power has impacted on many stakeholders, especially households, manufacturers and other private sector organisations.
In a telephone interview with Vanguard, the President, Oil and Gas Service Providers Association of Nigeria, OGSPAN, Mazi Colman Obasi, stated: “The poor state of the nation’s power sector has impacted very negatively on the economy. Many investors have resorted to the generation of their independent power at higher cost. It is a very serious challenge because we should not be where we are today.
“With commercial oil and gas production and export for decades, the government should have been able to use the proceeds of the nation’s petroleum to stimulate the development of many sectors of the economy, especially power.”
The National Secretary, Nigeria Electricity Consumers Advocacy Network, NECAN, Mr. Uket Obonga, told Vanguard: “The Federal Government has no option but to increase funding for the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN. Operators in the oil and gas industry should make efforts to supply more gas for power generation while the Electricity Generation Companies, GENCOs, should make efforts to pay the right price for it.”
He had added: “On distribution, we know that the distribution end in the power chain is the weakest link and it is in a very poor state due to lack of investments, the DISCOS have not really invested in their networks.
Recently, I was travelling along Calabar – Ikom highway, and within 10km, I counted 42 fault lines. You can see the state of dilapidation of infrastructure.
“The current DISCOs do not have the financial and technical capacities to manage the franchise areas, currently given to them and because the areas are too large, we are suggesting that the areas should be reviewed and immediately reduced to a manageable size so that whatever is taken out of them can be given to other investors.
“Also, the sector lacks accurate data. On the number of customers, it is my opinion that the Federal Government should organize a nationwide customer enumeration exercise to determine the actual number of electricity consumers in Nigeria as this will help us to know what the DISCOs are actually collecting and remitting.”