Nigeria To Open Bid For Private Investment In Power Sector 

..Says 250,000 Meter Applications Processed By Discos

Yemisi Izuora 

The federal government is seeking new investors in the power generation and distribution chain following us obvious failure by current investors to meet government aspirations to improve on the electricity industry which led to the enactment of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005.

Speaking while commissioning the power substation infrastructure built by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, NDPHC, at Abeokuta, Ogun State, yesterday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, confirmed that government has already taken the decision to further open the electricity sector to new investors after realising that the national grid system cannot meet the power demand of consumers.

To attract investors, the Vice President said, government has approved substantial change strategies backed by various policies that will encourage more investments to the industry.

He said though the present administration has made some remarkable impact by increasing installed generation capacity to 13,437 Megawatts, MW, and available capacity to 8,342 MW, and 7,000 evacuation capacity, inability of Distribution Companies, Discos, to deliver grid power to end users have significantly distorted the efforts of government.

According to him, Discos inadequate infrastructure has restricted distribution to about 4,000MW and at peak periods 5,400MW.

Osinbajo, said that government has identified weakness of the Discos which include inadequate capital to provide needed infrastructure and metering challenges among others.

To resolve these challenges, government introduced the Meter Asset Provider, MAP, scheme to resolve the lingering metering challenges in the system, adding that so far the Discos have received and processed about 250,000 applications from customers, and that hopefully the number would quadruple by end of the year.

He expressed the hope that with the implementation of the MAP, the industry would be ale to close the 5.3 million metering gap existing currently.

Other measures taken by government Osinbajo said include the Siemens Phased Electrification Roadmap, which was flagged off recently by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Explaining details of the Roadmap, the Vice President said that under phase 1, Transmission and Distribution would be able to deliver 7,000 MW, and  under phase 2, 11,000 MW would be achieved while 25,000MW is targeted under phase 3.

He said that government expects the Discos to recapitalize and come up with resources to improve on their services, but even at that the market is set to welcome new investors in the distribution and generation sub sectors.

This he said is one of the major reasons government came up with policy of Willing-Buyer-Willing-Seller as well as other policies that are key to attract the needed investment in the sector.

In his speech, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, of the NDPHC, Chiedu Ugbo, said that the company’s contribution to the Transmission grid system has transformed the hitherto radial 330Kv/132KV grid into a more robust grid system with significant provision of alternative power flow routes which no serve as redundancies and which has resulted in a more reliable and stable grid.

Ugbo recalled the commissioning of the 220 kilometer long 330 KV Double Circuit lines providing alternative supply routes to Abuja and the FCT from Geregu through a new Lokoja substation, a new Gwagwalada substation into the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Katampe and Apo substations with several significant substation development along that route.

The MD, said that between 2015 and now about 30 NIPP Transmission Projects inherited by present administration have been completed while over 70 Distribution Projects have also been completed across the 6 geopolitical zones.

With the new Abeokuta substation, Ugbo said Ogun state and in particular Ottah which hosts substantial manufacturing companies would begin to enjoy better electricity supply.

In his remarks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Usman Mohammed, said the company has significantly improved its services and is now not regarded as the weakest link in the industry chain.

Mohammed said it’s wheeling capacity has improved to about 8,000 MW but lamented that Discos are frustrating efforts of the company by rejecting load.

According to him, most substations are stranded due to inability of Discos to take load. Specifically he said that all the substations put in place in Kano state today are idle as Discos are not willing to take up to 30 per cent of power from them.

He appealed to government to intervene by extending funding support to the Discos but warned that the TCN may be prompted to take over any Disco that is not willing to take load from existing stations.

Speaking also, governor of Ogun state, Dapo Abiodun expressed willingness of the state to partner with operators in the power sector to substantially improve On power situation in the state.

Abiodun lamented that fourteen years after the launch of the NIPP as an intervention measure nothing much has been achieved, adding that $2 billion annual injection into the sector without appreciable or noticeable improvement is needless.

He advocated for a clear legislation that will set clear boundaries of state government involvement and investment in the power sector.

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