Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has accused power Generation Companies (Gencos) of wilfully painting a gloomy picture of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), despite some remarkable progress in the last few years.
Speaking during an online forum, tagged: “The Power Dialogue,” organised by the Nigeria Electricity Hub, Commissioner, Legal, Licensing and Compliance, NERC, Mr. Dafe Akpeneye, noted that a number of investors were still angling to come into the sector despite the current constraints.
Akpeneye was reacting to a statement by the Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), the umbrella body of all the Gencos, positing that members of the association are currently regretting investing in the sector since 2013 when the sector was privatised.
During the heated argument, the NERC chief said that the Gencos misrepresented facts when they said that in the last seven years, the sector had been backward with nothing to show by the power generators.
Akpeneye expressed shock at the Gencos’ representative’s comments, stressing that opportunities abound in the sector, which prompted Transcorp Power to recently acquire Afam Power in a deal that was sealed a few weeks ago.
“I am surprised with her (Ogaji’s) comments. As people who work in a sector that is, even though tiered, highly integrated, we should be careful with the message we give to the Nigerian public.
“Let’s be mindful that in this same sector that you are saying is gloomy, Transcorp which invested in the Ughelli plant just bought Afam in the midst of all the constraints and issues we are facing.
“There are Gencos that are waiting to still come on stream. The QIPP is still trying to come on board. Anyone can rebut me if I am wrong, but we have the largest power market in Africa,” he posited.
According to the NERC official, to say that it is all gloom and doom for the sector in the last seven years is a gross misrepresentation of facts.
“We have the demographics, the people. 210 million doing 5,000mw on a daily basis shows you that there’s a lot to be done. We have had misalignments, but that doesn’t take away the fact that the opportunities are still there and investors like Transcorp is taking another power plant.
“They just sealed that deal a few weeks ago. Let’s be mindful of the representation we make. We should be mindful,” he cautioned.
Earlier, the APGC chief executive said that 2021 could be worse for the power sector because there was nothing on the ground to point to that will markedly transform the power sector.
“The situation has not been different from 2013 to date. It has been seven years of gloomy annual losses to the Gencos. Some of the investors have told me they regret investing in the Nigerian power sector.
“It’s as if the power sector is cursed. I am quoting one of the investors. One of them called me and poured out his heart, how painful it is to invest in this sector.
“For the Gencos, it’s not just 2020 that’s gloomy. From 2013 till date has been gloomy. In 2020, we have Covid-19 to blame, but for Gencos from 2013 to 2019, what did we blame it on? There was no Covid-19 for six years. It’s a seven-year gloomy anniversary.
“We are not even sure 2021 will be a bright year because there’s nothing on the ground to show that 2021 is going to be better. That’s how bad it is,” she lamented.