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Nigerians paid N250bn for power in 7 months

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By Abraham Adekunle

Amidst global financial crisis, consumers pay for expensive darkness in Nigeria.

Despite the unstable state of power supply in the country, the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) has released data that show that electricity consumers in Nigeria paid about N250 billion for electricity for the first seven months of the year. The report, which was obtained by the press showed, however, that the amount was about N190 billion short of the over N450 billion that was invoiced for electricity supplied over that period of time.

The figure is also said to be about 25 percent short of the Minimum Remittance Order (MRO) set by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for electricity distribution companies known as DisCos. The monthly remittance report of the DisCos showed that 11 utilities remitted: about N38 billion in January; about N40 billion in February; about N30 billion in March; about N38 billion in April; about N30 billion in May; about N33 billion in June; and about N46 billion in July.

NERC activated a partial Power Purchase Agreement in July 2022.

On July 1, 2022, NERC activated a partial Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with electricity generation companies (GenCos) for the supply of 5,505 megawatts of electricity for peak generation and a base load of 4,893 megawatts. The agreement guarantees that the gas supplied to the GenCos by gas companies will be paid for. It also ensures that the GenCos are paid for the electricity they supply to the national grid. This move is part of the efforts by the federal government to improve power supply in the country.

The recent partial Power Purchase Agreements means that all the 25 power generation plants on the grid now have an agreement in place to generate a certain amount of power and get paid for it. The National System Operator (NSO), a unit in the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), have released data on power generation. According to the data, the national grid hit a peak generation of 4,718.8 megawatts on Saturday, November 5, 2022. As of 3 p.m. on Sunday, November 6, 2022, data from NSO showed that 21 power generation companies were supplying the grid with 4,187 megawatts, with Shiroro Hydro supplying 501 megawatts, Delta supplying 438 megawatts, Azura-Edo IPP supplying 375 megawatts and Jebba Hydro supplying 369 megawatts. These are among the top four generators in the country.

National President of electricity consumers says bill has tripled.

Amidst all these, electricity consumers are still complaining of hike in tariff and poor power supply all over the company. Speaking to the press, the national president of the Electricity Consumers Association of Nigeria (ECAN), Mr. Chijoke James, said that while power supply has improved since the beginning of July 2022, the electricity bills have more than tripled in charges. He said this is true especially for consumers on the estimated billing system. In Nigeria now, the Federal Government in conjunction with the electricity distribution companies is trying to have every apartment in every house in every area in the country fixed with a prepaid meter so that they do not have to worry about the estimated billing system.

According to the president of ECAN, it is important that the government should mandate the distribution companies to provide meters to consumers. He said that the policy that the consumers have to pay for meters is wrong because the meters should be free to all. He said, “It is the responsibility of DisCos to provide meters for their business.” He reiterated that the government must end the estimated billing method because consumers are paying for electricity that they have not consumed.

Epileptic power supply hurts businesses and innovation in Nigeria.

The current power situation in Nigeria has continued to hurt homes and businesses, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). In 2022, at least three tertiary institutions have left the national power grid because of exorbitant rates without corresponding supply of power. Artisans and businesses who depend on electricity for their daily production have also decried the state of power supply. Artisans such as welders, fashion designers, electronic gadgets repairers, etc. and businesses such as bakery, processed food producers, animal feed producers, etc. have all complained about the situation.

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