…As power generation drops to 1400mw
By Adewale Sanyaolu and Dennis Mernyi, Abuja
Nigeria’s power supply crisis worsened further yesterday as electricity generation dropped to 1400 mega watts. This is even as the Electricity Distributors Association of Nigeria (EDAN) equally raised the alarm over the massive and growing N300 billion revenue shortfall.
The General Manager, Public Affairs of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr. Clement Ezeolisah, in a statement attributed the development to constraints in the thermal power stations, which prevented the generators from producing at optimal levels.
The country had in March 2016 recorded a zero mega watts power generation due to what authorities attributed to system failure.
Addressing correspondents at a World Press Conference in Lagos recently, Executive Secretary of EDAN, Mr. Sunday Oduntan, expressed concern that the N300 billion industry shortfalls is massive and growing, arguing that the development poses severe liquidity crisis.
‘‘This is a cash liquidity crisis that threatens to completely undermine the electricity value chain and its ability to continue to serve its consumers,’’ he said.
Oduntan disclosed further that the revenue shortfalls adversely impact the ability of the Discos to make capital investments in metering, network expansion, equipment rehabilitation and replacement, critical for efficient service delivery.
He regretted that the challenge of energy theft remained responsible for the huge industry shortfall, a development, which, he said, has forced many of the Discos to think out of the box by installing smart meters capable of detecting households and firms engaged in power theft.
According to him, energy theft impacts negatively on Disco operations, forcing many to embark on endless routine maintenance work as a result of double feeding, leading to constant interruption in power supply to homes, offices and industrial clusters. He said energy theft could be largely responsible for the increasing rate of estimated billing slammed on consumers.
Oduntan explained that every power that goes into all transformers is metered and gauged by the quantum of consumption in any neighbourhood, adding that the energy consumed is now divided by the numbers of homes making use of the transformer.
‘‘So in this instance, if there are homes that have bypassed their meters in a bid to pay low tariffs, the shortfall in the quantum of energy consumed is then shared among other households. So it is in the best interest of members of the community to report cases of energy theft, otherwise the whole community bears the brunt,” he said.
In the same vein, the Managing Directors of Abuja Disco and Ibadan Disco, Messers Neil Croucher and John Donnachie, lamented the inability of the Discos to access foreign exchange to boost their operations.
The duo noted that over 80 per cent of materials needed for the operations of the discos were being sourced overseas, adding that the biting effect of forex shortage was taking its toll on their operations.
They said meetings held with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to create a leeway for discos to have unhindered access to forex has not yielded the expected result, stressing that discussions would, however, go on until a solution is reached.