By Okechukwu Nnodim
Nigeria’s available power generation capacity has plunged by 2,324 megawatts due to deteriorating plants/units’ capacities and poor maintenance caused by liquidity challenges, among others, the Federal Government has said.
It stated that though the country’s installed power generation capacity increased marginally, the quantum of available power crashed by over 2,300MW between 2015 and 2022.
An analysis of the latest 2022 Electricity Market Competition Report by The PUNCH on Friday, showed that the country’s available power capacity dropped from 6,401MW in 2015 to 4,059MW in 2022.
The report, which was put together by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, an agency of the Federal Government, read in part, “The installed capacity in NESI (Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry) grew by 7.95 per cent, from 12,132MW as of December 2015 to 13,097MW as at December 2022.
“During the same period, however, the average available capacity decreased by 2,324MW, from 6,401MW recorded in 2015 to 4,059MW in 2022.
“This is due to deteriorating plants/units’ capacities, poor maintenance due to liquidity challenge and access to forex (foreign exchange), non-binding contracts and delay payment, and introduction of stringent regulatory measure against wrong declaration.”
The power sector regulator, however, stated that “it is also noteworthy to mention that during the period, Gbarain National Integrated Power Project was out of operation till date. The non-availability of this plant may have also overstated the reduction in available capacity linked to the old plants.”
Meanwhile, the report stated that the installed and generation capacities of the power plants connected to the grid had continued to increase from 2015 when the power generation companies were handed over to private investors.
The NERC stated, “As at December 2022, 28 power plants were operational in NESI. The high number of generation plants and the opportunities created by various regulations allowing Discos (distribution companies) and large consumers to contract bilaterally and supported by the proposed exit of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading company from the market, have somewhat improved the level of competition in that segment of the value chain.”
A total of 28 private and government-owned power generation plants were operational and on the grid as of December 2022, it stated.
It added that “This does not include several embedded generators licensed by the commission and currently operating in NESI. Only eight of the grid-connected generation plants owned by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited are yet to be privatized.”
The NDPHC is a special-purpose vehicle owned by the three tiers of government and created for the implementation of the National Integrated Power Projects.
The NERC further stated that while it had continued to provide direction and regulatory guidance to address the challenges in NESI, the daily average generation had continued to grow.
“The daily average generation of 3,892MWh/h recorded in 2022 was 9.42 per cent more than the daily average generation of 3,557MWh/h recorded in 2015,” it stated.
But electricity consumers condemned the 9.42 per cent rise in average power generation recorded during the period of seven years, describing it as abysmally low.
The National Secretary, Nigeria Electricity Consumer Advocacy Network, Uket Obonga, said, “Can you say that is an improvement? If you had that kind of growth for seven years, which on average is about 1.3 per cent annual growth, would you say it is good? It is abysmally low!”
He added, “There is no serious growth there. It is about 1.3 per cent annual growth and this has been so for the past 10 years. In fact, since 2010 till about February or March this year, the annual growth in the power sector is about 1.1 per cent.
“So there is nothing to celebrate about that. It is not something remarkable. Our demand for electricity far outweighs that quantum of power generated during the period that was reviewed by NERC.” (Punch)