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Transmission Company of Nigeria Can’t Cope Beyond 4,303MW Says, DisCos

BY LEVI JOHNSON

It has been discovered that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) can not cope beyond 4,303 Megawatt as against the target of 7,000 Megawatt.

The Association of Nigeria Electricity Distributors (ANED) who disclosed this on Wednesday to Power Minister, Mamman Sale said that the TCN can only wheel 4,303mw and not 7,000mw as earlier believed.

According to ANED, the quantum of power that the distribution companies (DisCos)  supply to their customers is based on the allocation they get from the TCN.

It decried the inadequacies of TCN to generates 7,000 Megawatt, adding that lack of ability to generate sufficient megawatt has limited DISCOs performance.

READ ALSO: NERC Denies Tariff Increment For DisCos

The clarification came on the heels of the minister’s press briefing after the last Federal Executive Committee meeting in Abuja, where he blamed the poor performance of the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) on the Discos.

In a release on Wednesday, the DisCos debunked the minister claim that the TCN “Nigeria currently generates 13,000 megawatts of electricity, it transmits 7,000 to Discos while the distribution companies can only distribute 3,000 megawatts to end-users.”

It referred him to a review of the daily power reports published by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN)’s National Control Centre (NCC).

ANED said according to the review by TCN, which is a government entity would indicate that the peak generation ever recorded in Nigeria is 5,375 MW, of which only 4,303 MW of energy was wheeled or transmitted by TCN to the DisCos.

It said that a further review, historically, would indicate that TCN has never wheeled or transmitted energy above 4,557 MW nor matched its transmission to any of the generation peaks to date.

The association said “As such, references to TCN’s ability to transmitting  “…7,000 to Discos…” is inaccurate and misleading.  TCN’s attestations of a transmission capacity of 8,100 MW is based on nothing more than a computer simulation and not tested, proven or practical capacity.”

ANED said the recent Siemens “Electrification Roadmap for Nigeria” report, May 7th, 2019 states “Today, power distribution by the Discos’s to end-customers is limited by power infeed from TCN.”

The same report, according to the association, also states that the capacity of the “last mile,” DisCo capacity, “…is about twice as high as the peak supply delivered by TCN to the respective distribution utilities (where the peak was 5.2 GW across all Nigeria in 2018).”

It said that a System Adequacy report authored by TCN’s Market Operator (July 2017), stated that, “Transmission constraints frequently limited the power flows in the network.”

The statement also alluded to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), in its December 2019 TCN Minor Review Order stated that “…whereas the CAPEX provided to TCN in MYTO-2015 Order was to support the evacuation of the average projected generation of 5,465MW in 2016 to 10,493MW in 2019, actual average generation remained between 3,500MW to 4, OOOMW during the same period.”

The statement reads in part “Maximum Available Capacity to Date,” for generation, indicated in the NCC report on the date (February 20, 2020) of the Honourable Minister’s comments was 7,652.2 MW.  Thus, raising a question as to the basis for the Honourable Minister’s reference to 13,000 MW of generation.

“Indeed, of the available generation capacity, 1,500 MW continues to be constrained by lack of gas, given that twenty-five (25) out of twenty-eight (28) generating plants are thermal plants that are fuelled by gas.  Grid and hydro issues provide additional constraints to generation availability.

“In simple terms, the DisCos can only deliver the energy that is transmitted or wheeled to them by TCN, based on the amount generated.  Of greater importance is the need, at a minimum, for a realignment of gas, generation, transmission and distribution capacities, that will provide the country with a level of consistent power supply. Any unsupported or inaccurate information amounts to deviation from this minimum and needless distraction from issues of sectoral urgency.

“That is what we are saying.  Government cannot continue to subsidise because what they are doing is that they collect 3,000 megawatts and pay for only 1,000 megawatts. That is 15 per cent of what they are collecting. So, the government is the one completing the payment.”

“To date, the DisCos have not received any subsidy from the federal government.  References to the N1.7 trillion in subsidies paid by the government are associated with payments that have been made to the generating and gas supply companies, under the Payment Assurance Guarantees (PAG) initiative and the Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilization Fund (NEMSF).

“PAG is, principally, a result of government regulatory and policy interventionist initiatives that have resulted in the inability of the NESI value chain to recover the cost of doing business based, primarily, on tariffs that are non-cost reflective – an unmet critical commitment of the privatisation of the electricity distribution companies.

“As a matter of fact, NERC’s December 2019 Minor Review Order specifies federal government debt to the DisCos (correspondingly, the rest of the NESI value chain), due to tariff shortfalls, of N1.728 trillion.

“DisCo’s liability to NESI, due to market shortfalls, is N81 billion.  Significantly, government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) owe the DisCos in excess of N100 billion, for energy consumed but not paid for – a federal government commitment, yet again, unmet under the privatisation agreement and MYTO-2015.

“Under the NEMSF N210 billion initiative, of the N189.1 billion that has been disbursed, the DisCos have only received N49.89 billion or 26.3%.  Importantly, this is money owed to the DisCos by the consumers, due to the non-cost reflective tariff of MYTO 2.0 and the government’s failure to inject the associated N100 billion in subsidies,a commitment under the privatisation agreements.  Interestingly, the rest of the NEMSF disbursement of N139.21 billion or 73.7% is comprised of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN)’s legacy gas and energy supply liabilities that should have resided with the Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO).

“Unfortunately, these liabilities now constitute an encumbrance on the DisCos’ financial books, limiting or precluding their ability to access the financing that is critical for capital investment and injection of efficiency in the distribution of electricity –  another violation of a privatisation commitment which required that the DisCos have debt-free financial books that would enable them access debt funding for their operations.

“A review of DisCo performance would indicate that the DisCos have improved their collection efficiency, from 2017 (57.89%) to a high of 74.5% (Quarter 4, 2019), in spite of the issues of lack of access to financing and the related limited capital investment, as well the artificially suppressed electricity tariff.  However, a discussion about DisCo remittances and collection efficiency would be incomplete without reference to regulatory and government policy inconsistencies and interventions that have distorted the ability of NESI to evolve organically.”

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