16 Of 26 Power Plants Record 37% Capacity Amid Incessant Grid Collapses

Although the 26 plants have a total installed capacity of 12, 199MW, current production of less than 5000MW, is a far cry from what is needed.  

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Sixteen power plants are performing below capacity as the country grapples with constant grid collapses.

Data obtained by Channels Television from the electricity market operator (NERC) on Monday, revealed that some power plants such as – Afam IV-V, Sapele ST, Olorunsogo NIPP, Omotosho NIPP, Sapele GT NIPP, Ihovbor NIPP, Geregu NIPP, Omotosho, Olorunsogo, Ibom Power, River IPP, Omoku, Trans Amadi, Paras, Taopex Energy and Dadin Kawa- currently produce just about 1,053MW (37 per cent) of the power consumed in-country.

On the other hand, only 10 power plants classified as major, including, Egbin ST, Delta GS, Kainji Afam VI, Odukpani, Shiroro, Jebba, Okpai, Azura IPP and Geregu currently generate 56 per cent, about 3,398MW of total power consumed.

Although the 26 plants have a total installed capacity of 12 199MW, current electricity generation is less than 5000MW, which is far from what the country requires to reach industrialisation.

Experts say the country needs nothing less than 30,000MW to reach sufficiency.

This is as NERC in its newly released ‘Nigeria Electricity Report: Energy Billed, Revenue Generated And Customers By DISCOS’  for the fourth quarter of 2023, said power supply increased by about 15 per cent across the country despite recent nationwide reality showing consumers lamenting low supplies.

“However, on a year-on-year basis, electricity supply increased by 14.64% compared to 5,611 (Gwh) reported in Q4 2022,” the report said.

As of last week, the country recorded its second national grid system collapse. In September 2023, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) reported a total of 46 grid collapses in the country between 2017 and 2022. In 2017 and 2018, there were 15 and 12 grid collapses respectively. While in 2019, there were nine grid collapses, four in 2020 and two in 2021. In 2022, there were four grid collapses.

Although the TCN said it has since restored power supply after the last grid collapse a few days ago, the company blamed gas constraints on most of the grid collapses. And until this morning, electricity consumers still reported skeletal power supply across their various franchises.

Failure of the power sector to meet up with consumers’ expectation of an improved power supply comes on the heels of revelation by the Power Minister, Adebayo Adelabu, who disclosed in Abuja last month, that the Federal Government was subsidising the electricity bills of consumers nationwide by about 65 per cent.

“I am holding this meeting with all the directors in the Ministry of Power and the CEOs of our agencies to address the lingering crisis in the power sector,” Adelabu stated

According to him, what the country is witnessing currently concerning power supply is unacceptable, adding that “the situation is getting worse, and in the last two, three weeks the level of power supply to Nigerians has not been good enough.”

Despite the low power generation, FG recently accused the DisCos of deliberately refusing to take up the power supply from TCN.

Adelabu said that despite the gas shortage, the ministry had been urging power-generating companies to enhance their performance, and generation had been ramped up to over 4,000 megawatts in recent days.

“So, we expect power supply to have improved across the country, unlike what we are experiencing in some regions, currently. Findings revealed that some distribution companies were deliberately not taking up power supply from TCN while some power lines were also damaged by vandals in Abuja, Benin, Port Harcourt and Ibadan regions.

The FG spent nothing less than N375.8bn on electricity subsidies between January and September last year, according to NERC.

According to NERC’s Chairman, Sanusi Garba, the federal government will still pay electricity subsidies to the tune of N1.6trn throughout 2024.

While the GenCos have consistently blamed low generation majorly on low gas-power supply, utilities sometimes say low supplies, and apathy on the part of consumers towards payment of bills are reasons they sometimes reject load from TCN.

On its part, NERC has reaffirmed its commitment to regulatory compliance and consumer protection within the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

The power sector regulator can impose various sanctions on power distribution companies for violating regulations or failing to meet performance standards.

These sanctions aim to deter non-compliance and improve service delivery and there are various types of sanctions imposed on defaulting power firms in Nigeria.

The regulator imposes financial penalties on power firms as fines varying in amount based on the severity of the offence. Abuja Disco, for instance, was recently ordered to refund overbilled customers and fined for violating billing regulations.

Benin and Port Harcourt Discos were also fined by the regulator for failing to comply with customer complaint rulings.

On Performance Improvement Plans, the commission undertakes some measures to address specific issues, such as metering, network investment, or service quality.

It also enforces licence suspension/revocation, where in extreme cases, NERC can suspend or revoke Disco’s license, though this is rare.

It should be noted that sanctions are just one aspect of NERC’s regulatory efforts. They also issue regulations, conduct investigations, and engage in stakeholder consultations.

However, the effectiveness of sanctions is debatable, with some arguing that these sanctions have not significantly improved service delivery.