Emmanuel Addeh and James Emejo in Abuja
In spite of decreased electricity supply to Nigerian homes in the first six months of 2022, power Distribution Companies (Discos) raked in a whopping N393.15 billion between January and June this year.
Latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicated that power supply fell from 5,956 (Gwh) to 5,227 (Gwh) between the first quarter and second quarter of 2022. This showed a decline of 12.23 per cent on a quarter-on-quarter basis, the information released by the country’s main data repository noted in a document, titled, “Electricity Report Q1-Q2 2022.”
The report stated, “Electricity supply in Q1 2022 stood at 5,956 (Gwh) and 5,227 (Gwh) in Q2 2022, showing a decline of 12.23 per cent on a quarter-on-quarter basis.
“Nevertheless, on a year-on-year basis, electricity supply declined compared to 6,172.19 (Gwh) and 5,882.57 (Gwh) reported in Q1 2021 and Q2 2021 respectively.”
Nigeria has for over 40 years grappled with severe shortage of supply of reliable power supply, despite past and the present administrations’ expending trillions of naira to resolve the problem.
The incumbent Muhammadu Buhari administration alone has spent over N2 trillion in offsetting some of the debt arrears in the power supply system, even with data pointing to a decline in the availability of power supply.
Nigeria has roughly 5,000 megawatts of supply daily but even that meagre supply is hobbled by transmission and distribution challenges.
On Tuesday night, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, argued that it was wrong to say the current administration hadn’t done anything to ramp up power supply.
Despite the very limited time before the exit of the Buhari government, Adesina stated that the president would make considerable progress before leaving government in May next year.
He pointed out that the Siemens deal remained on course, explaining that some mega transformers are already arriving the country for the purpose.
“President Buhari is determined that before he leaves, maybe in another eight months, there will be significant progress in delivering electricity and power to Nigerians,” Adesina stated during an interview.
However, he admitted that there still remained a huge gap in electricity supply in the country, declaring that Buhari is determined to make the difference.
Despite the reduced supply of power, revenue generation by the Discos stood at N204.74 billion in Q1, 2022 and N188.41 billion in Q2 2022, although it showed a fall on a quarter-on-quarter basis by 7.97 per cent.
The report added that on a year-on-year basis, revenue collected rose by 11.42 per cent and 1.71 per cent, respectively, from N183.74 billion in Q1, 2021 and N185.24 billion in Q2, 2021.
The NBS data further showed that the total number of electricity customers rose in Q1, 2022 standing at 10.63 million and 10.81 million in Q2, 2022, showing a rise of 1.67 per cent on a quarter-on-quarter basis.
But on a year-on-year basis, customers’ number in Q1 2022 declined by 1.36 per cent from Q1 2021 (10.78 million), and also fell in Q2, 2022 by 2.27 per cent from Q2 2021 (11.06million), the report said.
In addition, metered customers stood at 4.79 million in Q1 2022 and 4.96 million in Q2 2022, indicating a 3.53 per cent increase on a quarter-on-quarter basis.
In the same vein, on a year-on-year basis, there were growth rates of 10.71 per cent and 9.54 per cent in Q1 and Q2, 2022, respectively, when compared to 4.33 million recorded in Q1 2021 and 4.53 million in Q2 2021.
The marginal increase in the number of Nigerians who owned meters might be attributable to the current national mass-metering programme embarked upon by the federal government over a year ago.
Similarly, estimated customers stood at 5.84 million in Q1, 2022 and 5.85 million in Q2, 2022, showing an increase of 0.14 per cent on a quarter-on-quarter basis.
On a year-on-year basis, estimated customers declined by 9.45 per cent in Q1, 2022, and 10.45 per cent in Q2, 2022 when compared to 6.45 million in Q1, 2021 and 6.53 million in Q2, 2021.
Many Nigerians depend on private generating sets to provide their own electricity, which may account for the decline in the rate of growth of customers since the national grid is largely unreliable.