Â Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, on Monday disclosed that up to 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity were left unused in Nigeria because there was no good data to link up sources of supply to demand points.
Fashola, who spoke at the December edition of the monthly power sector operators meeting in Geregu, Kogi State, explained that electricity generation companies (Gencos) in the country were now able to generate up to 7,000MW of electricity, and put about 5,000MW to the grid, with the balance of 2,000MW left unused.
He noted that the amount of unused electricity was likely to increase in 2018, when about 1,129MW of new generation capacities would be added to the grid from the likes of 450MW Azura Edo plant, 215MW Kaduna power plant, and 240MW Afam Fast Power project, among others.
According to him, there was thus the need for the industry to clearly begin to link supply sources to demand points across the country, adding that the eligibility customers regulation which the electricity distribution companies (Discos) were against would address this.
â€œThe fact that we can produce over 7,000MW and can now only put over 5,000MW on the grid means that we have 2,000MW of unused power left in a country where many still require power. This is a new problem that we must resolve,â€ said Fashola.
He noted: â€œWe must get that 2,000MW out to the people who need it, because more power is coming in 2018 from places like Azura (450MW); Katsina wind (10MW); Gbarain (115MW); Kashimbilla (40MW); Afam III (240MW); Gurara (30MW); Dadin Kowa (29MW); and Kaduna (215MW) to mention a few. All of these do not include mini-grids and solar systems that are in various stages of development.â€
The minister stated that he has had instances of consumers complaining of lack of electricity supply to them, and that such cases in a situation where up to 2,000MW of electricity was left unused was improper.
According to him, â€œOn December 7, 2017, I was listening to a radio program where a small business operator was discussing her fish business and the problems she was encountering. She was one of the many people whose lives President Buhari is committed to changing for the better.
â€œAs you would expect, she complained about power supply but she did not say where she was or where her business is located. This happening at a time when, as I have announced, that we are now able to produce up to 7,000MW of power and able to transport a similar capacity. It happened 48 hours after we successfully reached the peak supply of 5,019 MW put on the grid and distributed on December 1, 2017 and before the peak of 5,155MW.
â€œIt showed clearly that there is a gulf between the location of the need and the location of supply. If we can produce 7,000MW but we can only distribute about 5,000MW, the problem has changed from lack of power to locating where the need is and designing a solution that takes the balance of 2,000MW to those who need it, who can use it and who can pay for it.
Â â€œWe must act to build the bridge that connects this gulf of supply and demand. That bridge is a bridge of data and information about finding the location of the businesses and industries that need power and getting the 2,000MW that is waiting for deployment to them.
Â â€œThe conversation clearly must change from there is no power, to what needs to be done to connect to the 2,000 MW that is available, and the additional power, which will come into production in 2018,â€ he stated, adding that he had initiated a meeting with huge consumer groups like the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to discuss means of channeling the excess power to them.