Power Sector Loses N26.4bn to Gas, Grid Challenges in January


Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

The power sector has continued its sub-optimal performance in January, losing about N26.4 billion in revenues in the first month of the year, mainly due to gas supply issues as well as transmission and distribution challenges in the electricity value chain.

THISDAY’s checks at the weekend showed that compared with the figures for the previous month, it was a negligible improvement, with December losses hitting N26.7 billion, a difference of just about N300 million when the two months are put side by side.

Similarly, there was no boost to the average energy per hour available to Nigerians in January, standing at 4,501 MWH/H, while the one for December was 4,500MWH/H, but with a marked increase in total constraint by 5.7 per cent against the preceding month.

The figures for the first 30 days of 2021 from the Advisory Power Team (APT), which is resident in the office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, also showed that although many Nigerian homes continue to suffer severe power outages, peak power wheeled for the month was 5,584MW, an improvement on the significantly lower peak in December, 2020 of 5,504MW.

According to the latest data, with revenue leakages owing to constraints within the system, including poor infrastructure, the country bled a substantial quantum of 1,838MWH/H, much higher than 1.548 megawatts per hour of the 4.482 megawatts average energy generated from November 26 to December 25, while the peak for the 30 days for that period stood at 5.504MW.
Insufficient gas supply, distribution infrastructure and transmission infrastructure, accounted for the limited performance of the sector, the report from the advisory power team stated.

Like in previous months, some of the power generating plants across the country, like the Alaoji NIPP, Ihovbor NIPP, ASCO, Egbin station 6 and AES, did not produce any power, while Egbin station 2 to 5, the largest power generation plant in the country, performed the most, followed by Azura-Edo, Kainji, Jebba and Odukpani in that order.
The data also indicated that Afam, Geregu, Omotosho, Trans-Amadi, Sapele NIPP as well Omoku suffered limited performance due to gas supply challenges.

Also, from January 24-31, the country lost over N4.044 billion, with average power generated for the week standing at 4,487 megawatts per hour and total energy constraint for the week at 1,053 MWH/H.
Nigeria has a rough estimate of installed power generation capacity of 12,522 MW, with a mix of thermal, which requires gas to function put at about 10,142 MW, while hydro or the quantum requiring water is 2,380 MW.

According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), only 45 per cent of the entire population currently has access to electricity supply, shared between the rural population with 36 per cent and urban residents with 55 per cent access rate, leaving a huge chunk of 20 million households without power at all.

While there’s currently zero investment in wind, solar and nuclear energy in the country, data from the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) show that solar sources now generate about 1,080MW of total power consumed in the country.
However, while water management constraints, according to the data from the office of the vice president remain insignificant, gas supply challenges constitute a substantial percentage of the problem, while issues with the grid in terms of transmission capacity and high frequency problems remain unresolved.

In 2013, the federal government privatised the power sector to attract investments and sort out many of the current issues still bedevilling the sector, but many years after, there has been no marked improvement in the operations of the entire spectrum of the value chain.