Consumers Condemn 9.4% Power Generation Growth in 7 Years

Electricity consumers, on Wednesday, condemned the 9.42 per cent rise in average power generation recorded during a period of seven years, describing it as abysmally low.

Data obtained from the just released 2022 Market Competition Report of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, showed that the difference between the country’s average power generation in 2015 and 2022 was 335 megawatts-hour/hour.

The NERC stated in the report that, while the commission continued to provide direction and guidance towards overcoming the multitude of Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry challenges, the daily average generation had continued to grow.

“The average generation of 3,892MWh/h recorded in 2022 was 9.42 per cent more than the daily average generation of 3,557MWh/h recorded in 2015. It is noteworthy that margin between the available capacity and actual generation is accounted for by gas shortages, transmission and distribution networks constraints and sometimes commercial considerations.

“Additional generation capacity is expected to be available with the completion of the ongoing construction of power plants, contract activation and novation, improved policy direction by the government and regulatory oversight of the commission”, it said.

But power consumers condemned the 9.42 per cent rise in average electricity generation, as they wondered how long it would take the country and its power producers to meet the demands of customers.

The National Secretary, Nigeria Electricity Consumer Advocacy Network, Uket Obonga, stated: “Can you say that is an improvement? If you had that kind of growth for seven years, which on the average is about 1.3 per cent annual growth, would you say it is good? It is abysmally low!

“There is no serious growth there. It is about 1.3 per cent annual growth and this has been so for the past 10 years. In fact, since 2010 till about February or March this year, the annual growth in the power sector is about 1.1 per cent.

“So there is nothing to celebrate about that. It is not something remarkable. Our demand for electricity far outweighs that quantum of power generated during the period that was reviewed by NERC.”

The NERC report further stated that the installed and operational generation capacities of the plants connected to the grid had continued to increase from 2015 when the power generation companies were handed over to private investors.

“As at December 2022, 28 power plants were operational in NESI. The higher number of existing generation plants has somewhat improved the level of competition in that segment of the value chain.

“The installed capacity in NESI grew by 7.95 per cent from 12,132MW as at December 2015 to 13,097MW as at December 2022. The available capacity stood at 4,059MW as at December 2022,” it stated.

Also commenting on the average power generation growth, the President, Electricity Consumers Association of Nigeria, James Chijioke, said it was insignificant when compared to the electricity needs of Nigerians.

He stated: “They may describe it as growth, but in actual terms, how many people are really benefiting from it. Most SMEs, (Small and Medium Enterprises) in Nigeria are still running their businesses on generators, as well as large scale industries.

“The number of people who need power has increased tremendously when compared to the rise in electricity output from the industry. So overall, the 9.4 per cent growth is insignificant and cannot be celebrated.”