Improvement in power supply across Nigeria, the HOW!

Oredola Adeola, Fatimah Idera

The relative improvement in the power supply across Nigeria in recent times has been attributed to the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN’s aggressive grid expansion, rising hydro dam water level due to rainfall (frequently noticed from April to October), reduced financial liquidity in the sector, installations of distribution transformers, repair of damaged panels by some of the electricity distribution companies(DisCos) amongst other factors.

These were some of the findings of EnergyDay in a special report conducted on the backdrop of the excitement shown by Nigerians concerning relative improvement in the power supply.

EnergyDay’s survey of Lagos Island, Ikoyi , Victoria Island, and Lekki Ajah axis confirmed relative improvement in power supply to residents of the areas under Eko DisCo.

This was largely attributed to the turnaround time for clearing faults as well as aggressive rehabilitation and installations of distribution transformers by EKEDC in some of the network areas.

Some residents of Lagos Island and Lekki Ajah confirmed to our correspondent that they have been enjoying about 20 hours of constant electricity.
EnergyDay also gathered that some of the residents who claimed improved power supply are those consumers on bands A, B, and C, who are marked to enjoy an average of 20, 16, and 12 per day respectively.
Mr. Owolabi Ogunlaja, a Youth Leader of the Baba Ode community, in Ikorodu Lagos State also confirmed to our correspondent that the duration of the power supply by Ikeja Electric in his community has improved significantly.
He confirmed that within the last few weeks, the community has been enjoying about 16 hours of power supply. He also noted that the relative improvement also comes with its regular challenges of constant interruption.
The Youth Leader said, “It is still not up to our expectations, because the on and off strategy employed by IKEDC with the two-days on and a day-off load shedding strategy, still subsist, because of old distribution transformers.

“This could be probably because there is a little supervision and watch now. I can see like 45% improvement in the electricity,” the Ikorodu Youth leader concluded.Mr. Daniel Olajide, a resident of Isolo community in Akure, the capital of Ondo State, told our correspondent that the power supply in his area has improved, commending the Benin Electricity Distribution Company(BEDC) for the improvement.

He said, “I am a bit surprised that the power supply has improved. Before now, the supply used to be once a day which often may not last more than four hours. The situation has changed, to three times in a day with a total of 16 hours of supply. I am still trying to understand the reason for the improvement”.

Mr. Samuel Alo, a resident of Ibafo, also confirmed an improvement in power supply in the Mowe/Ibafo axis. He stated that Ibadan DisCo has improved supply, adding that cases of constant interruption have reduced.

Mr. Owolabi, a resident of Ota, expressed fear over the improved power supply. According to him,  power is always supplied frequently at the end of the month when IBEDC is planning to come for bill collection.

He said, “IBEDC will ensure that it supplies electricity during the first few weeks of the month, which makes it easy for them to collect their levies without complaint.CONCESSIONARY LOAN BY CBN

Power sector experts who spoke with EnergyDay revealed that some of the financial stimuli from the Federal Government, and about N836.08 billion  interventions released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have improved and reduced the financial liquidity in the sector, while also increasing the capacity of the distribution companies.

REASONS BY DISCOS

EnergyDay confirmed that EKEDC has in recent times embarked on aggressive distribution transformer installations across all its network areas, leading to the improved power supply.

Godwin Idemudia, EKEDC General Manager, Corporate Communications, confirmed that major areas under EKEDC have confirmed improvement in power supply, which he attributed to the rehabilitation of distribution infrastructures and judicious use of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s concessionary loan on Capital Expenditure(Capex).

Yola Electricity Distribution Company(YEDC) also confirmed that it has been able to sustain its power supply despite the heavy downpour in the state within the last few weeks.

Mahamud Keni, Regional Manager, AEDC, Niger region,  Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, confirmed in a statement obtained by EnergyDay that the company has spent over N500 million to improve electricity supply from about five hours to over 15 hours per day in Minna, Niger.Barr. Sunday Oduntan, Executive Director, Research & Advocacy, Association of Nigerian  Electricity Distribution Company(ANED) revealed that relative improvement in power supply in recent times can be attributed to the collaboration between the DisCos and the agencies of government.

He said, “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s loan initiative to the DisCos, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and the Ministry of Power (MOP) established a successful template for addressing the thorny and difficult issues of the DisCos’ lack of access to capital and addressing the metering gap.

“ Additionally, NERC, in tandem with CBN, worked with the DisCos to address and reverse some of the historical regulatory challenges that have adversely impacted DisCo’s performance.

Evidence of this commitment, according to him, as of Quarter 1, 2022, is responsible for the establishment of a new revenue collection of N777 billion; reduction of average Aggregate Technical Commercial & Collection Losses (ATC&C),  estimated in excess of 56%, pre-privatization to 46.3% and increase in the number of registered, the installation of 129,352 distribution transformers as of 2020 versus 75,041, in 2013, a 72% increase; and increase of electricity distribution capacity from 15GW to 30GW, post privatization.

He noted that  DisCos still have a long way to go, to meet the service delivery requirements that will ensure consistent and stable electricity to their customers.

TRANSMISSION COMPANY OF NIGERIA

Mrs. Ndidi Mbah,  General Manager, Public Affairs, TCN in a recent statement obtained by EnergyDay revealed that electricity consumers, based on data from the System Operators(SO) have in recent weeks witnessed an improvement in access to electricity.She said the electricity supply reached a new high of 5,043 megawatts (MW) on September 1st, 2022, an 8.1% increase from the 4,664MW recorded the day before.

She confirmed that since the industrial actions by the electricity workers under the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff Association Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) in August, which grounded the TCN’s operations and caused a nationwide blackout, the supply of electricity has been increasing.She said, “During the month of August, consumers received an average of 93,183MWh of power, compared to 86,221MWh on average during the previous month. In the same line, energy output has also increased, averaging 94,281.68MWh per day in August.

“On September 1st, a total of 102,875.3MWh of energy were produced, while 101,630MWh were provided, accounting for 98.8% of the total electricity produced. The lowest frequency on Thursday was 49.8Hz, and the highest frequency was 51.1Hz.

TCN attributed some of the factors responsible for the improved power supply to a reduction in tariff shortfalls, which has been the bane of investments in the power sector,  partial Activation of Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) which commenced in July, and billions of naira in central bank intervention funds lent to Discos for meters, CAPEX, and operational expenses.

GENERATION

Joy Ogaji, Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC) in a statement published by the  International Centre for Investigative Reporting, described the relative improvement in power supply as a poor state of power supply to the commercial and industrial users across the country.

According to her, the general consumption nature was still largely supplied to homes.

Ogaji said, “If 4,000 megawatts is enough or is deemed an improvement, then do we really need more than 4,000? It shows two things: one, that our power consumption is only on residential; and two, that it confirms the assertion that we are a consuming economy and not a productive one.

“This is because our commercial activities have tactically stayed clear from the grid due to the abysmal state of power supply in quality and reliability. The micro, small and medium enterprises have refused to connect to the grid.”“This is because our commercial activities have tactically stayed clear from the grid due to the abysmal state of power supply in quality and reliability.

“Are we really there yet? We are talking about 4,000mw for 216 million population, with over 60 percent of the population falling within the youth class who are restive and energy-hungry, not to mention the threat that poor supply portends to the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AFCTA),” she said.

Ogaji suggested that to harness the full potential of the AfCFTA, Nigeria needed to coordinate relevant MDAs and stakeholder groups to undertake a wide range of actions at the domestic, sub-regional, and continental levels to prepare Nigeria and Nigerians to take advantage of the benefits of the AfCFTA while protecting them from identified trade threats – domestic, sub-regional and continental power.

“In a bit to resolve these issues, the government has embarked upon various interventions such as policy reforms, increased infrastructure development, unbundling of the heritage Power Holding Company,  declaration of the eligible customer policy, distributing/franchising special performance vehicles (SPVs), the establishment of increased mini-grids and capacity generation, infrastructure concessioning through a public-private partnership, and increased international development partnership along the electricity value chain,” she said.

EXPERTS

Engr. Johnson Andrew, a power sector consultant, on his part revealed that the concept and implementation of the DisCos model in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry(NESI) have not only been an ill-thought-out abnormality but a nightmare not deserved.He noted that the notion by most resource persons on the mantra that “government has no business in business”, has placed a bad economic model such as the DisCos model on Nigeria, thereby putting the economy in a deeper quagmire.

Andrew believed that the increase in power supply and the attendant enjoyment being enjoined by Nigeria is the result of painstaking planning and commitment by the Federal Government and some major players in the power sector.

He noted that in the recent past, Nigeria has concentrated attention on power generation, to the extent that supply from the electricity generation companies(GenCos) outstripped the wheeling ability of TCN and DisCos in the ratio of 3:1.

He said, “The commissioning of power plants and gas deal with Nigerian Gas Company(NGC) and how the debts were rescheduled and supply commitment was obtained. These boosted our generation capacity to 12.2GW.

Dr. Godwin Oronvwiroro, Managing Director & CEO at Winman Nigeria Limited,  a former Head Customers Services, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, revealed the several factors that can be adduced for the relative improvement in electricity supply across the country.

He said, “Electricity generation has improved and it is being delivered to the grid across the country for distribution to end users which has increased by about 8.08% on the average month-on-month increase between July and August 2022.“Also, TCN average electricity generation for July and August 2022 were 86,221Mwh and 93,183Mwh respectively.

“The Discos will need to come clean with what they channeled the FG’s concessionary funds into. The concessionary intervention is suspect, leaving room for suspicions.

“In one breath, we are aware of the agreement between Siemens and FG where huge investment will be made in the sector. There has been the CBN intervention fund in the past.“The public needs information about how this investment will be treated. Are there loans that have tenor or will they be converted to equity later? Is there a specific infrastructure these funds will be invested in or they are to help Discos run their operations? Until there is clarity, the assessment may be difficult.

He however noted that the stability of the grid will provide system sustainability as there have not been incidents of frequency drops below tolerable limits that may have led to system collapse.

Dr. Godwin also noted that power generation peaked at 5,043.4MW on September 1, 2022, charging the TCN to sustain the feat, he noted that the weak link in the chain remains the DisCos, which needed to do more.EnergyDay noted that the collaboration between TCN and NIPP (NDPHC) resulted in boosting wheeling from 4GW to the present 7.3GW. It was discovered that some substations have been upgraded and new transmission lines have been commissioned with several re-conductored to generate more power.