Long queues for fuel worsens Lagos traffic Motorists lament, defy Sanwo-Olu Unwholesome practices slow down govt efforts on electricity lElectricity growth sluggish in 2021
By Udeme Akpan, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Sebastine Obasi, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Ediri Ejoh & Elizabeth Adegbesan
Nigeria’s energy sector woes appear worsened as electricity generation, yesterday, dropped to 4,227 megawatts, MW, from 4,544.2MW, indicating a decrease of seven per cent due mainly to limited gas supply and other factors.
Consequently, more businesses and households are thrown into skeletal operations and darkness.
This comes against the backdrop of worsening supply shortages ofthe premium motor spirit, as long queues at the various petrol stations across the country is adversely affecting businesses and livelihood.
Elsewhere in major cities, especially in Lagos and Abuja, the long queues for petrol have spilled over to worsen traffic situations, as the crisis defiles earlier directive of the Lagos State governor on disciplined fuel queues in the state.
The decrease in electricity generation, according to data obtained from the Nigeria Electricity System Operator, affected the nation’s capacity to transmit and distribute adequate electricity to consumers in different parts of the nation.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government, yesterday, said the erratic power supply being experienced in Abuja and other parts of the country was due to low water level in the hydro dams.
Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu stated this when he featured at the ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Media Team at the State House, Abuja.
Aliyu, flanked by the Minister of State for Power, Mr. Jeddy Agba, reeled out the various initiatives under his ministry, including Presidential Power Initiatives, PPI, being driven by Siemens, to address the problems.
He said the government was doing everything to ensure optimum supply of gas to ensure quick restoration of power.
Aliyu explained that government was expediting action on the proposed installation of 10 power transformers with additional ten mobile substations for massive improvement of electricity supply nationwide.
In a related situation, despite FG’s assurances of adequate supply of petrol, most of the roads in major cities across the country, especially Lagos, have been taken over by long queues and traffic snarls occasioned by the lingering fuel scarcity, which is on its third week.
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, had said about 253.98 million litres of petrol has been made available at Lagos depots.
The authority also stated that 46.66 million litres of petrol was trucked out of the depots last Tuesday to filling stations in Lagos and other parts of the country. Mr Ayorinde Cardoso, Zonal Operations Controller, NMDPRA, Lagos, explained that the authority was working towards ending the lingering fuel scarcity in the country.
Cardoso said: “The total stock in Lagos depots was 253,980,444 litres of PMS. Total volume of PMS trucked out on Tuesday was 46,660, 659 litres with 1,101 trucks. 700 of the trucks were distributed to Lagos and Ibadan Zone while 401 trucks were bridged to other parts of the country.”
Also Speaking to Vanguard, a major marketer, who preferred to be anonymous, said products were supplied to the market to cushion the petrol scarcity currently rocking the country.
According to the source, “cargoes have been paid for by the NNPC and they are on their way to Nigeria but will start arriving from next week.
“However, there are some cargoes that are already being discharged at the depots. For Lagos alone, about 50 to 75 trucks were loading to saturate the market. These products are going to marketers that have retail outlets like in Egbeda, Agege, Akowonjo so they will not come to the main town to buy fuel.
“Also, Total and OVH are loading massively from Pinnacle at night. MRS is loading from their own depot at night and this situation has been on for the past three nights.”
Unwholesome practices, traffic
Vanguard observed that filling stations in Lagos State have resorted to selling petrol at night. The petrol situation in Lagos lengthened queues at filling stations, with resultant traffic snarls noticed in some parts of the state. It was gathered that black market sellers also took advantage of the fuel scarcity, offering petrol in jerry-cans by roadsides, to willing buyers.
Major roads such as Oba Akran, Awolowo, Secretariat, Ojota and Bank-Anthony within the Ikeja axis were taken over by motorists who queued to get petrol. This caused a lot of traffic on these roads as transporters struggled to get through them.
In Lagos Island metropolis, motorists also continued to groan, following transportation fare hike and traffic congestion caused by the fuel situation. From CMS to Ikeja, which used to cost N500 had shot up to N800, while Ojodu Berger to Ikeja rose to N300 from the previous fare of N200.
Some petrol stations dispensing fuel around Alimosho, Ikeja, and environs, hiked the price above official rate of N165 per litre.
A filling station along Egbeda-Ikotun Road (namewithheld) was selling at N200 per litre, and declined selling on kegs.
Commercial bus drivers and personal car owners thronged the filling station in attempt to get the product, not minding the high price.
As at 5p.m., only two filling stations, operating intermittently, were seen dispensing fuel to motorists along Egbeda-Ikotun Road, thereby obstructing free flow of traffic.
It was also gathered that miscreants took over control of a filling station at Iju area of the state, collecting N500 from each motorist, before allowing access to the stationm which was selling at N200 per litre. The situation led to gridlock along the axis.
This was actually in apparent defiance to earlier directive by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, through the Ministry of Transportation, warning motorists queuing up for fuel at filling stations to be orderly and not hinder the movement of others and any errant motorists would have their vehicle towed and prosecuted.
“The government sympathises with motorists who are enduring the pains of the fuel shortage being experienced across the country. This, however, is no excuse to block roads and impede traffic flow,” Commissioner for Transportation Dr. Frederic Oladeinde said.
Oladeinde frowned at the disorderly behaviour of some drivers, who queue up haphazardly and disrupt traffic flow around petrol stations.
He urged petrol marketers to ensure that products are sold in an orderly manner that would not infringe on the rights of other road users to free movement.
“We want our roads to be free; we do not want fuel queues to constitute a burden for other road users in Lagos,” he said.
At press time, it could not be ascertained the number of vehicles that have been towed or penalized so far, despite traffic impediment across the state.
Meanwhile, a motorist, Tayo Bamidele in Lagos, lamented:”The current scarcity of PMS is showing how insensitive this present APC-led government has taken Nigerians for a ride. NNPC kept releasing statement that pms is available and already released to marketers,yet many petrol stations are closed and a few that have pms are selling at N200 or N250 with impunity because DPR, that is responsible for checkmating their operations, looks elsewhere.
“I’m sure either NNPC are not being truthful about the availability of PMS or government is trying to force Nigeria into buying PMS at higher prices because they know the fuel subsidies removal will trigger protest.”
Govt efforts on electricity
Recall that the Federal Government had set December 2021 for the completion and commissioning of the project, which is expected to be the second-largest hydroelectric power station in the country, behind the 760 megawatts (1,020,000 hp), Kainji hydroelectric project.
But the minister said the project site was attacked on January 4, 2022, with two Chinese nationals working at the site kidnapped, after killing the security guards.
According to him, work has “slowed down at the site, while efforts are on to rescue the Chinese workers.”
He said the Federal Government has secured and is executing up to $4 billion in investments in the Grid to ensure more grid power is delivered to citizens.
The minister, while providing details of electricity supply, said the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry has delivering grid, captive, and embedded power to the tune of almost 8,000MW daily, as against the speculated 4,000MW.
He noted that the nation has an installed capacity of almost 18,000MW not 13,000MW.
Aliyu said, “I’d like you also to take away that we deliver 8,000MW of electricity daily through a combination of Grid, Embedded and Industrial Captive supply of Electricity (not 4,000MW as is frequently reported), much of this capacity added during the life of this administration.
“These are not my figures; this was an industry study conducted by KPMG recently.”
He said much of the improvement to 8,000MW occurred under the Buhari administration “through positive industrial policies driving captive industrial power investment and improved grid stability although we continue and must continue to work to improve the performance of the Grid.”
Aliyu explained that these come from 28 Grid Power plants with Installed Capacity of 13,000MW and Operational Daily Capacities of around 5,000MW, with the plants located at Egbin, Ughelli, Geregu, Kainji.
“266 Captive Power plants (mainly industrial > 1MW) with Installed Capacities of 4,000MW and Daily Operational Capacities of around 2,500MW.
“These include the Dangote Cement Capacities in Obajana Ibese (400MW), and NLNG’s Bonny Island Power Plant (240MW) amongst others.
“These are never captured in the statistics but are part of the NESI and form our industrial load for jobs. In the future many of these plants will integrate to the grid, in fact some of them supply power to communities they occupy.
“16 Embedded Power Plants with 549MW of Installed Capacities and 190MW of Daily Operational Capacity.
“From the KPMG rebasing analysis above it is clear that the NESI needs to make better utilization of particularly the Grid based Power Plants. The only way this can happen is through the improvement of the Grid.
“The Federal Government has many key grid initiatives with more than N125.2 billion budgeted between 2015 to 2021 for TCN and Development.”
The minister, however assured that the government is working on more firm Gas supply contracts for the Power sector backed by improved liquidity, which will have stiff financial penalties for underperformance.
Speaking on the Siemens Presidential Power Initiative, PPI, the minister noted that “government will be bring in an additional $2.0 billion or more to the Transmission Grid.”
He disclosed that contracts have been awarded for the construction of 10 transformers and 10 mobile power substations through Siemens which will be delivered soon.
Electricity growth sluggish in 2021
The nation’s energy sector generated 36,397 gigawatt hours (gwh) electricity last year. This represents a 1.89 per cent year-on-year (YoY) rise when compared with 35,720.27 gwh in 2020.
The sector also transmitted 35,654 gwh of electricity in 2021 representing a 1.78 per cent YoY rise when compared with 35,029 gwh transmitted in 2020.
In its “2020 and 2021 Power Sector Data: Energy Generated and Sent Out”, report released yesterday, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) noted that in 2021, electricity generated fell by 8.23 percent and 2.62 percent in the second quarter of 2021 (Q2’21) and Q3’21 respectively.
Similarly, the electricity transmitted fell by 9.06 per cent and 2.56 per cent in Q2’21 and Q3’21 respectively.