By Adedeji Adeyemi Fakorede
The nation’s aggregate electricity need has been estimated at about 160,000 Mega Watts (MW) to satisfy the local electricity demand, even as indications emerged that the Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) may not be able to meet the one year deadline set by the Federal Government to meter all consumers in the country.
This revelation came when the Executive Director, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distribution Companies (ANED), Otunba Sunday Oduntan, reviewed the operations of the Discos in the post-privatization era, while assessing the growing profile of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) in Lagos.
Oduntan, who raised hopes that the Multi-Year Tariff Order 2015 (MYTO 2015) would herald positive development in the sector, said there are still some factors in the regulations that might hinder the desired level of growth.
He said Nigeria is presently among the lowest power generation counties in the world and far lower than other African countries.
According to him,“the rule of thumb for any developing industrial nation is that at the least one gigawatt (1000MW) of electricity generation and consumption is required for every one million population,”
He gave comparism of other countries such as Algeria with population of about 40 million, has about 11,000MW generation; Egypt – about 90 million population generates 24,000MW; United Kingdom with about 30 million population generates 80,000MW; Germany with 30 million population generates 120,000MW, South Africa with 60 million population has 40,000MW and Nigeria with 160 million population generates a paltry 4,000MW.
“This shows that there is huge deficit. We have not yet started and that is why we have low customer satisfaction. With the ideal rule of thumb Nigeria with a population of 160 million should be generating about 160,000 MW,” he said.
Rolling out the numerous challenges to the sector’s growth, the ANED chief said the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) also needs to review the capital expenditure (CAPEX) benchmark of N50 billion set for the Discos yearly, because there was need for more investment to boost infrastructure in the industry.
According to him, the approved CAPEX is grossly inadequate to meet the expected improvement, because the Discos will need about N78 billion to meter about two million customers alone, not considering other areas of investment.
He therefore, suggested that the NERC should remove the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI) meter scheme expenses from the total CAPEX to allow for more reasonable investment in under the regime.
The Managing Director, BEDC, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, said the Disco is determined to invest massively to meet the requirement under its network.
According to her, the company would be rolling out 200,000 meters monthly, while plans are also at advanced stage to build embedded power generating system that would add about 500MW to its energy in the next few years.
Osibodu said the company has metered about 74,697 customers since take over, and it is also training youths to fill the technical skill gap in the sector.