Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn-in for another four years in office. In his first term, he made promises of improving grid electricity supply to Nigerians, and over the period his government also made claims of improvements. Chineme Okafor, however tracks the power supply situation from May 29, 2015 to May 29, 2019
President Muhammadu Buhari recently told Nigerians that during his first four years in office, that Nigeria’s power sector made remarkable progress.
Also, in 2016, during an Independence broadcast, the president had said: “Power generation has steadily risen since our administration came on board from three thousand three hundred and twenty four megawatts (3324 megawatts) in June 2015, rising to a peak of five thousand and seventy four megawatts (5074 megawatts) in February 2016.”
He had added that while peak generation rose to 5074MW, renewed militancy and destruction of gas pipelines in the Niger Delta caused acute shortage of gas and constant drop in electricity output available on the grid.
Similarly, the president had said that during the period June 2015 to September 2016, the national transmission system improved its capacity from 5500 megawatts (MW) to 7300MW.
He, however, pointed out that the transmission system suffered a total of 16 system collapses between March and July 2016 alone allegedly on account of the gas line vandalism by Niger Delta militants.
Coming up to 2017, again in his National Day broadcast, Buhari, said power supply was still a huge problem to the country and his government, but added more progress had been made.
According to him: “As of September 12th, production of power reached an all — time high of 7,001 megawatts. Government is increasing its investment, clearing up the operational and financial log jam bedevilling the industry. We hope to reach 10,000 megawatts by 2020.”
From both broadcasts and declaration in 2016 and 2017, Buhari, explained that 5074MW and 7,001MW were achieved as power production volumes with both years, but did not claim they were actually supplied from the generation companies (Gencos) to the distribution companies (Discos) for consumption by Nigerians.
Notwithstanding the president’s claims, the operational record of the country’s on grid power supply obtained from the Advisory Power Team in the Office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for the periods between May 29, 2015 and May 29, 2019, however showed that on the average, daily power supplies to Nigerians from the grid was 3674.6MW during Buhari’s first term.
The record also showed that on the average for this period, 2917.2MW was not supplied to Nigerians daily either because the transmission lines were not available; the distribution networks were impaired; or gas supply to Gencos was not available as well as water supply management issues encountered by the hydro Gencos.
For instance, from May 29, 2015 when Buhari took over government, to December 2015, an average of 3790MW was delivered daily to Nigerians from the grid while 2413MW was not.
From January to December 2016, it was 3211MW delivered and 3546 undelivered. Between January and December 2017, it was 3559MW delivered and 2420MW undelivered. In 2018, it was 3807MW sent into homes and offices from the grid and 3039 unavailable for use by Nigerians. Similarly, between January and May 29, 2019, when Buhari’s first term ended, it was 4008MW delivered daily and 3168 not delivered.
Monies were also not earned
With regards to potential revenue that could not be earned by the sector on account of the generation failures, the report from Osinbajo’s office equally recorded that from May 29, 2015 when Buhari took office to December 2015, it was N246.6 billion unearned.
It further said N622.9 billion was not earned in 2016; N425.1 billion in 2017; N532.4 billion in 2018; and 226.5 billion unearned between January and May 29, 2019.
Cumulatively, the report disclosed the sector had not been able to earn N2.053 trillion worth of revenue between May 29, 2015 and May 29, 2019.
Responding to the challenges in the sector, power Gencos through their union – the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), said they were frustrated by the sector’s chronic financial challenges, and could file for force majeure to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
APGC’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Joy Ogaji, told THISDAY the Gencos were being hit hard by the financial challenges in the market.
“Every month Gencos are being owed an average 71.28 per cent of their invoice. In the absence of Power Assurance Guarantee (PAG), Gencos cannot survive with this. Most Gencos find it difficult to meet their performance agreement obligations with BPE and have applied for force majeure,” Ogaji said.
“Due to high market liquidity squeeze, Gencos (thermal and hydros) lack the necessary funding for their operations, acquiring spare parts and equipment and meeting other obligations for the power generation stations.
“Unless the challenges in the power chain are tackled, power output will continue to be poor. The generation companies are ready and willing to generate power that will sustain the country on a daily basis but they are being constrained by factors beyond their control,” she added.