National grid collapse caused by ‘external factors’, power supply to improve from July 1: NERC

Nigerians will witness an improvement in electricity supply from July 1 as industry players step up efforts, said Sanusi Garba, Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

Mr. Garba gave the assurance during an interactive session with reporters after the second meeting of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) on Wednesday in Lagos.

The meeting brought together senior officials from NERC, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), generation companies as well as power distribution companies.

He said NERC had facilitated a contractual agreement between the Gencos, TCN and the 11 DisCos that would guarantee the generation, transmission and distribution of an average of 5,000 MW of electricity per day to customers starting July 1. .

According to him, the contract binds all actors in the value chain of the sector and provides for sanctions for any party that does not respect the agreement under the new regime.

Mr. Garba said: “Yes, we have had discussions with gas suppliers in our regulatory space. We have them on board to make sure that once we established the business requirements, the gas was going to flow.

“Now for transmission we have heard of figures well over 5,000 MW and it is clear that TCN will be able to deliver that.

“I remember clearly that in March last year we had 5,400 MW. So that means it’s entirely possible based on signed commitments.

He said all stakeholders in the value chain have obligations and there will be consequences if they fail to meet their commitments.

“So in a situation where the Gencos are able to supply 5,000 MW but TCN is unable to do so, they will pay the penalty to the generation company and so on.

“And whenever power is available and the DisCos don’t take it; they will then pay damages which will compensate the other players in the market.

“We may not have 24/7 power supply from July 1 but Nigerians will see the trajectory as the target is to have an average of 5,000 MW per day for transmission and distribution,” Garba said.

He also blamed the recent collapse of the national grid on the lack of gas supply, the maintenance of some thermal power plants as well as the vandalism of electricity infrastructure and gas pipelines.

The nation experienced a nationwide outage as the power grid collapsed for the 17th time in the year.

“Today’s challenges are very clear. In the past, it was weak infrastructure and so on. Now we have certain external factors contributing to these events,” Garba said.

“Obviously, it’s not common in the world to see people coming down, knocking down transmission towers for no reason; or blow up crude oil lines.

“In a number of cases, most of the gas we have today is associated gas and because of that, when crude oil lines are interrupted, it also affects the gas supply to thermal power plants,” he added.

Mr. Garba commended the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the interventions in the power sector, adding that the country would soon start to feel the positive impact of the investments.

(NOPE)

Shirlene J. Manley