The new power supply deal between Nigeria and Siemens AG, will see the German company deploy modern technology that will end the incessant problem of meter bypass leading to loss of billions of naira by Distribution Companies (Discos).
Speaking during a web conference, Managing Director of Siemens, Nigeria, Onyeche Tifase, said that the issues of collection and power theft remain a major challenge in the industry, stressing that with the new technology, any infringement on the meters would be monitored real time.
Siemens lamented that the Aggregate Technical, Commercial, and Collections Loss (ATC&C), which is the difference between the amount of electricity received by Disco from the transmission company and the amount of electricity for which it invoices its customers, is currently as high as 50 per cent.
The federal government recently began the implementation of the deal with the German firm which is expected to overhaul the beleaguered sector in three phases between now and 2025.
The first phase of the deal would see the upgrading of 105 power substations and the construction of 70 new ones, manufacture and installation of 35 power transformers, installation of 3,765 distribution transformers and building of 5,109 km distribution lines with a potential generation capacity of over 13,000mw.
In phase one, 7gw is expected to be achieved between now and 2021, with the upgrading of transmission and distribution of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and Discos expected to contribute an additional 2gw,while for phase two, 11gw will be achieved between 2021-2023, with full use of existing generation and last mile distribution capacity.
The third part will see the attainment of 25gw between 2023-2025 with appropriate upgrades and expansion in generation, transmission and distribution.
Tifase maintained that the company had identified everything that needs to be done to transform the sector, noting that in the past, decisions on the sector were over-ambitious with no clear plan on how to achieve them.
She noted that with the new deal, which saw the federal government pay an initial counterpart funding of about N8.6 billion a few weeks ago, every action and every phase of the execution has been carefully mapped out to avoid the failure of the project.
She explained that with minimal human interference and greater automation, the practice of cutting off the meter and stealing of electricity will be eradicated.
“This requires the participation of all stakeholders. We will bring the technology which allows us manage meters, vending and other data that will allow collection and reconciliation of payment.
“You cannot tamper with that meter because there’s real-time intervention, so, we can switch off when it is being tampered with. We have identified what we need to do about those smart meters” she said.
She added that with the new move to ensure that there’s a cost-reflective system and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Agency’s (NERC) efforts, Nigeria will experience a gradual attainment of self-sufficiency in power supply.
Tifase, lamented that inadequate power supply in the country had led to mass exodus of companies and individuals which had also resulted in loss of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
The Siemens boss noted that with the company’s experiences in Iraq, Egypt and other third world countries, Nigerians would soon join the list of countries with adequate power supply.
In his intervention, Special Adviser, Policy, to the minister of power and Secretary, Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) Implementation Committee, Mr. Abba Aliyu, noted that lack of investment, inadequate infrastructure, uncoordinated policy implementation have been issues that beset the sector.
He assured that the federal government had put structures in place to ensure that the agreement and implementation of the Siemens deal is devoid of political considerations so as to outlive the current administration.
He said that there’s a clear governance structure which has made the operators comfortable to sit at the same table to negotiate the terms and conditions of the agreement.
Other participants during the event tagged “The Siemens Rescue Mission” organisad by Nigeria Electricity Hub, included, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ikeja Electric, Folake Soetan, Director, Energy Department, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr Yunana Malo, and Partner, Zebcha Limited, Mr Temitope Akinyemi, who anchored the programme.