-Generation 7,000MW, Distribution 5,000MW
By Obas Esiedesa
With power generation said to be at 7,000 megawatt and distribution capacity at 5,000MW, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN)on Tuesday in Abuja said the demand for electricity by manufacturers in the country has reached 14,882MW daily.
MAN said its members were making up for the acute shortfall by engaging in expensive self-generation.
MAN position came barely 24 hours after the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola revealed that electricity consumers in the country were spending about N24 billion monthly to power diesel generators.
The President of MAN, Dr. Frank Udemba-Jacobs spoke at a meeting convened by the Minister to find a way of distributing the 2,000MW unutilized power through the eligible customer regulation issued by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) late year.
Udemba-Jacobs pointed out that it was uneconomical for up to 2000MW of the power that electricity generation companies (GenCos) in Nigeria can generate are stranded because electricity distribution companies (Discos) are unable to evacuate them to points of need.
He said manufacturers were interested in getting supply directly from the GenCos for the 2,000MW of power as it would cut-down on their cost of generating power.
He stated that members of MAN were ready to take up the 2000MW stranded generation capacity, and therefore called on DisCos to shelve their alleged selfish interests in opposing the eligible customers regulation, and instead consider the overall economic interest of Nigeria in this regard, adding that poor grid power supply has impeded the growth of the country’s manufacturing sector.
He welcomed the latest approach by the government to find a solution to the problem, saying “We have been complaining about power as one of the infrastructure that has been impeding our progress as manufacturers, and when we heard about government coming up with the eligible customer guidelines, we thought it was a wonderful idea because at present, we know that 2000 megawatts are stranded and not been utilised because the Discos couldn’t buy them. These are wasting away while we need power”.
According to him, the move “is an opportunity for us to key in and take that 2000 megawatts that are wasting. MAN members alone consume 14,882 megawatts per day, and this we cannot get (from the grid). Most of them are self-generated. We believe that this eligible customer initiative will make it possible for us to get some of those power that are wasted and convert to our own use.
“Definitely, MAN’s consumption is 14,882 megawatts every day. We are hoping that this 2000 megawatts will help to augment, it won’t give us all that we need.”
Speaking at the meeting, Fashola explained that the meeting was important because “we gather not to talk about the problem, we gather to solve the problem. As I said at a different forum, we have a new problem; we have more power than we can distribute.
“In that context, we cannot continue to talk of lack of power; instead, we must talk about how to connect to the available and unsold power, and what it will cost to do so”.
He said power generating companies were now able to produce 7,000MW and the transmission company is able to transport all of it and is expanding its capacity daily.
He said the distribution companies have also increased their load taking capacity to 5,0000MW.
“However, this leaves a gap of 2,000MW of what you manufacturers will call unsold inventory”.