By Obas Esiedesa & Ediri Ejoh

Power sector engineers have called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI, to enable the mobilization of resources to tackle the challenges facing the sector and to allow capital punishment for those involved in the vandalism of power infrastructure.

Their call came on the day the National Grid collapsed for the sixth time in seven months leaving consumers across the country without public power supply.

Checks by Vanguard on data released by the National System Operator, a unit under the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, showed that as at 4pm, only Omoku (45.5MW) and Trans-Amadi (33.40MW) were on the grid as it began a gradual recovery process.

However, in a statement obtained by Vanguard, Eko DISCO, stated: “We regret to inform you of a system collapse on the National grid at precisely 11:27 am today, Wednesday, July 20th. We are in talks with the TCN to ascertain the cause of the collapse and a possible restoration timeline.”

Also, speaking at the International Power Engineering Exhibition and Conference organized by the Nigerian Institute of Power Engineers, NIPE, in Abuja, the Executive Director, Networks, Niger Delta Power Holding Plc, NDPHC, Engr. IfeOluwa Oyedele said such a measure would allow the government to reset the sector.

The conference had the theme: Nigerian Electricity Power Industry in crisis: Separating undue politics from power market.

Engr. Oyedele pointed out that the sector has been running on deficit since it was privatized in 2013 and “is projected to reach over N820 billion deficits this year with cumulative deficits of over N3 trillion since 2014”.

He explained that the collapse of the grid yesterday was just one of the challenges facing the sector, adding that “there are so many causes of grid collapse some of which is rejection of power by the distribution companies and vandalism. Destruction of the network by Nigerians why don’t we have for instance an emergency situation in the country whereby we can even talk about capital punishment for those involved.

“It is the right time we declared an emergency in the power sector to attack some of these problems”.

Explaining the causes of the huge deficits recorded by the sector, Oyelede stated: “Whereas in 2020 from a total installed capacity of 12,500MW only 4,087MW was available for generation. The 4,087MW of available generation capacity was used to generate 32,181 Gigawatts hours, GWh, of electricity, but only a little under 30,000GWh was received by DisCos, a transmission loss of seven percent, this is about   three percent above the usual benchmark.

“Discos having received 29,819 GWh managed to deliver only 22,163GWh of electricity to consumers, losing 7,656 GWh to poor infrastructure and theft. In all, 32 percent of electricity is lost during transmission and distribution. This is huge! As if this was not enough, DisCos in 2020 billed 22,163GWh of electricity to consumers (60 percent of whom are not metered) to generate N816 billion in revenue but managed to collect only N542 billion in the same year!

“Thus, inefficiencies in the Distribution Sector contribute to a significant portion of the 50 percent Aggregated Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses”.

He also faulted the ongoing process by the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, to sell off five National Integrated Power Project plants, saying NDPHC which built the plants were in the best position to operate them competitively if the government allows it to compete with other power generation companies.

Also speaking, the President, Nigerian Institute of Power Engineers, Engr. Israel Abraham urged the government to separate undue politics from power market and practice.

Engr. Abraham explained that there was too much politics in the sector which has hindered the full participation of professionals in the sector.

“Political involvement in the power sector has led to huge decay in the sector and this can be seen in the grid collapses and failure to make progress since it was privatized”, he stated.

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