Senate To Investigate Gencos, Discos Over Unsteady Power Supply

 

The Senate has mandated its Committee on Power to investigate the activities of power generating and distribution companies with the aim of unraveling the causes of unsteady power supply in Nigeria. 

The resolution of the Senate followed the consideration of a motion moved by Senator Chukwuka Utazi, who lamented that power generating or installed capacity of Nigeria in relation to its population and Gross Domestic Product cannot ensure that Nigeria competes favourably in terms of development with other nations.

The lawmaker while expressing optimism that Nigeria can set a realisable target of generating a capacity of 100,000 megawatts in the next 10 years, said this target can be achieved through a mix of energy sources such as natural gas, hydro, coal, wind and renewable energy.

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He added that beyond generation and transmission, Distribution Companies lack the financial and technical capacities required, thereby resulting in their inability to pay for power which Generation Companies (GenCos) deliver to the grid.

The Senate urged the Federal Government to upgrade the transmission infrastructure of Nigeria’s power grid for more efficient transmission of power.

While advocating for 100,000 megawatts installed capacity to match the size of Nigeria’s economy and population, the upper chamber urged the Federal Government to break-up the country’s power distribution companies into smaller, more manageable distribution companies for optimal performance.

Fashola Attributes Drop In Electricity Supply To Attacks On Gas Pipelines

Babatunde Fashola, Power, Oil installationsThe Minister of Power, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has attributed the drop in electricity supply from 5000 MW to 2000MW since February 2016, to incessant attacks on gas pipelines by vandals.

He said this while delivering a key note address he delivered at the second edition of the National Council on Power (NCP) Stakeholders meeting in Kaduna State.

Speaking on how to address the current poor electricity supply across the country, Mr Fashola advocated alternative power sources such as solar, wind energy, coal to complement existing hydro and gas.

On his part, the host governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai asked the Federal government to retain the transmission sector and privatise the DISCOs and GENCOs.

The governor also advocated the restructuring of the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in order to make it more proactive and effective.

In doing this, he stated that competent and experienced experts should be engaged to man the regulatory agency.

He specifically urged the Ministry of Power and other stakeholders to consider solar energy since it is cheaper and efficient, adding that Nigeria is blessed with abundant sun which could transformed into solar energy.

The 2nd edition of the National Council on Power stakeholders meeting had the theme “Achieving Incremental, Then Uninterrupted Power” was organized by the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.

The NCP stakeholders meeting provides a platform for the ministry to interact with all stakeholders in the power sector in order to provide a road map to address the challenges in the sector.

Patronise Local Meter Makers, Fashola Tells Electricity Companies

Electricity-meterNigeria’s Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr, Babatunde Fashola, has urged electricity distribution companies to patronise local meter manufacturers in the quest for mass metering system of their customers across.

At the 6th Power and Stakeholders Monthly Meeting held on Monday in Kano State, North West Nigeria, the Minister said the patronage of local manufacturers would help avoid foreign exchange problem associated with importation of meters.

Mr Fashola stressed that it would greatly save cost if made in Nigeria meters were patronised, pointing out that it is of same quality with the imported ones.

He believes that proper synergy between operators at the highest executive management levels, generating companies, distribution companies, transmission companies and various relevant government agencies would provide sustainable solution to the nation’s power problem.

On the low supply of power currently being witnessed across Nigeria, Fashola told reporters that the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers had dropped power generation from 5,000 to about 3,000 megawatts.

“As of today, Nigeria rely only on hydro power from Jabba and other formations whose gas is not totally out,” he said.

The militant group in Niger Delta region have claimed responsibility for most attacks on oil facilities in the region, crippling exploration activities.

The meeting agreed that in furtherance of aggressive metering plans, all distribution companies should embark on a sensitisation campaign to enable customers understand the need for metering system.

At the meeting were operators and stakeholders of the Nigeria’s electricity industry and it was chaired by Mr Fashola.

The monthly meeting according to the minister was initiated to identify, discuss and find practical solutions to issues facing the Nation’s power sector.

Presenting a communique at the end of the meeting, the Managing Director of the Kano Electricity Distribution Company, Mr Jamilu Gwamna, said the meeting acknowledged the need to put in place a more robust mechanism on information sharing between the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and generation and distribution companies as well as other stakeholders in the electricity industry.

Power Generation Hits 4,000 Megawatts

PowerElectricity supply through the national grid is now ramping up as it attains 4,387 megawatts peak generation as at Friday, March 4, 2016 with a prospect for further improvement in power supply situation.

The Head, Public Affairs Department at the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Usman Abba Arabi, said that this is following successful repair work on the damaged gas facility earlier in the week.

“It would be recalled that the peak generation level that notched epoch 5,070 megawatts few weeks ago suddenly nosedived due to inadequate gas supply on the main gas pipeline supplying many of the power stations.

“This was on account of gas supply shortage due to inability to evacuate condensates and oil produced with the gas because the main oil export pipeline out of Forcados was vandalized two weeks ago.

“However, with the successful repair work on the damaged facility, the system is now ramping up as it attains 4,387 megawatts peak generation as at Friday, March 4, 2016,” he said.

The acting Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Anthony Akah, has subsequently appealed to members of the public to cooperate with electricity industry operators and security agencies to stem the recent incident of vandalism on electricity installation.

He also warned the electricity distribution companies that the momentary downturn in supply should not be used to exploit unmetered electricity customers on estimated billing saying, “Customer bills for unmetered customers should be as accurate as possible and reflect their actual consumption. It shall in no circumstance be arbitrarily inflated.”

According to him, “The reduction in power supply when it lasted affects both metered and unmetered customers. For metered customers the drop in their consumption will be captured by their meter. For unmetered customers it is imperative that estimated bills during this period are reflective of their actual consumption.”

He further directed electricity distribution companies that unmetered and estimated customers have the right and option to pay current estimated electricity billing based on their last undisputed bill where there are concerns with the current estimated electricity bills.

He said that electricity distribution companies should ensure diligence and professionalism in the estimation of unmetered customers based on the provisions of the Billing Estimation Methodology Regulations, 2012.

He hinted that the Commission has deployed monitoring teams to report any act of negligence and extortion.

Power Minister Says Tariff Hike Will Attract Investment

FasholaThe Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, says the new electrify tariff is the first major decision that will attract needed investment in the sector.

Fashola’s comment in Lagos on Monday came just as the Nigeria Labour Congress the Trade Union Congress and their allies held nationwide protest against the tariff hike of 45 per cent.

“The question on the lips of everybody is; why can’t we have power first before we pay?

“I wish we could do that, but if they understood that power business is funded from finance from banks. So, no bank is going to lend money to you if you can’t show a recovery price.

“That is the reason we can’t have power first before tariff. It has to be produced before we have it and it has to be paid for.

“The supplier of gas is not going to supply unless he sees his cash,” the Minister explained.

On the protest by the unions, Mr Fashola urged them not to start a new fight, saying “we don’t need one”.

“In any event, there are part of the employee of all these DISCOs and GENCOs that are still working, so let’s get to productivity. Let’s stop fighting (and) let’s produce.”

On the level of electricity supply which the unions are insisting must improve before a new tariff is issued, the Minister said that the capacity Nigeria had in January had never been reached before.

“In the last week of January, we recorded all time high generation of 5,000mw. Nigeria has never reached that level of generation (and) we need a lot more.

“But even with that 5,000mw, there is a lot of service work that needs to go on so that people can access the power.

“So not paying for power, you are disrupting the system; diverting lines, you are disrupting the system; vandalising pipes, you are disrupting the system, you are cheating the system, it is part of anti-corruption (and) everybody must pay for what he uses.

After a meeting with operators in the power sector, the Minister also inspected a transmission facility under construction.

He urged the contractor to expedite action so that incremental supply could be experienced.