11 September 2017

Nigeria: Poor Electricity Supply May Persist As Discos Reject 1000MW Daily

It may take a longer time for the country to overcome its electricity supply challenges as the distribution companies (Discos) reject generated energy from power plants.

A review of the power sector load summary from 13th to 20th August, 2017 by The Guardian showed that an average of 1,000 megawatts (mw) is rejected daily by the Discos, even as electricity consumers continue to groan in darkness. Specifically, the 11 Discos collectively rejected 8, 391.06mw within eight days.

Experts say that the continuous electricity load rejection could worsen the epileptic power supply and cause more economic loss to the country.

For instance, on the 20th of August, a total of 818.01mw was rejected by all the discos; 626.97mw, 701.31mw, 1,581.39mw, 1,506.00mw, 1,202.01, 1,062.11mw and 890.26mw were rejected on the 19th, 18th, 17th, 16th, 15th, 14th and 13th of August.

The situation has resulted in the shortage in power supply in the country.

The Daily Operational Report from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) also revealed that despite having a national peak demand of 19,100mw, the country was only able to generate 3,264mw on September 7, 2017.

The report explained that though the country has the capacity to generate 11,165.40mw, TCN has continued to transmit below its current capability of 7,000mw.

Also, the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry Statistics (NESI) disclosed that the country lost an estimated N1.202 billion on September 5, 2017 due to several constraints inhibiting the power sector. NESI put the average power sent out on September 5, 2017 at 3759 mw, while the reported gas constraint was put at 450mw. It said that the power sector lost 2,055mw to reported frequency management constraint due to loss of Disco feeders.

The power generation companies have continued to lament TCN's inability to transmit available power to the distribution companies, which usually result in idle capacity. For example, Egbin Power Plc puts its idle power at 700mw daily.

Lamenting the company's challenges, the Managing Director and Chief Executive, Dallas Peavey, said the company had been able to overcome the challenge of gas supply, but had over 700mw of idle power which could not be transmitted to the distribution companies.

The Director of Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Oduntan, blamed TCN for its inability to transmit electricity to the Discos.

Oduntan said that the situation would persist as TCN continued to face technical limitations preventing the wheeling of power to some specific geographical locations.

"The issue is about the wrong dumping of load where the Discos cannot recover the cost as the power supply is not always enough for all the customers under a particular Disco.

"The truth of the matter is that TCN has not been able to properly transmit the generated power to the various distribution companies. If my customers are in Mushin, you cannot take the power to Victoria Island. How do you expect us to distribute such power? No matter how TCN wants to play it to colour the reality of transmission shortcomings, transmission remains the weakest link in the power value chain," he said.

On TCN's capability, the Executive Director, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Sanusi Garba, said the evacuation capacity of the company was a major shortcoming aggravated by the inadequate financing of the firm caused by its low operating tariff, uncompleted legacy projects and declining budgetary allocation.

"The liquidity problem in the sector must be resolved. All technical hitches at the transmission-distribution interface must be removed. It is vital to reinforce and expand the distribution infrastructure to take up more power from the system," Garba said.

The General Manager (Public Affairs), Seun Olagunju, said in a statement that TCN was working assiduously to improve and stabilise grid frequency at 49.75Hz to 50.25Hz. "TCN is working with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on the provision of required incentives for generation companies (Gencos) to provide enough spinning reserve. The company is also committed to taking all other actions that would lead to sustained system stability," she said.

The company reiterated its commitment to diligently executing its grid expansion and stability plans in the short, medium and long terms as well as working closely with the Gencos and Discos to grow the load capability and deliver quality and stable electricity supply to consumers nationwide.

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