Nigeria: Govt Sets 10,000MW Target, to Close Metering Gap in Two Years

Nigeria: Govt Sets 10,000MW Target, to Close Metering Gap in Two Years

The federal government yesterday unveiled plans to boost electricity supply by wheeling a minimum of 10,000 megawatts of electricity into homes, while setting May 2023 as target to close the six million metering gap in the power sector.

Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Infrastructure, Mr. Ahmad Zakari, while featuring on The Morning Show, the flagship breakfast programme on ARISE NEWS CHANNEL, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, said the government in collaboration with its development partners would commit between $3 billion and $5 billion to the power sector in the next 24 months.

Zakari added that the president understands that billing people arbitrarily is one of the main challenges of the sector, and he has mandated the transitioning to the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), which is now fully funded.

He said: “On 100,000MW, we do have a trajectory, but we will definitely not be there in 18-24 months. But we have continued to have an imbalance between generation and in some estimates, we have the line of sight at about 20,000MW.

“The administration is also looking at this power approach, not only in megawatts but on its impact on people. We are working to ensure that energy access is improved. But we think we have a clear line of sight of 10,000 MW during the life of this administration in terms of delivered power to end users.”

According to him, the Buhari administration is currently focusing on the transmission and distribution parts of the value chain to be able to get the electricity being generated into the homes of Nigerians.

He stated that the government was also ramping up the delivery and installation of meters nationwide.

“The estimated six million meters gap in the country will be eliminated by the end of the life of this administration. We are in phase 0, which the central bank has provided funding for.

“Thus far, that phase 0 is about a million meters. Phase 1 will be 4 million meters. We have mopped up all the available meters. About 600,000 have been delivered to the Distribution Companies (Discos) and about 400,000 plus have already been installed,” he stated.

Zakari said the geolocation of beneficiaries was being tracked and gave the assurance that energy theft would be significantly reduced when the metering covers a large number of customers.

He stated that the recently launched service-based tariff will be focused on customers paying for what they get, noting that the conversation needed to change from tariff increase for the sake of it, to the provision of service to consumers.

Zakari reiterated that there will be a refund to customers and “de-banding” of any areas that do not receive commensurate supply of electricity with the tariff band, adding that there has never been any policy in the past that linked quality of service to tariff.

On why the federal government was unbundling the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) before concession, Zakari stated that the extant law empowers the president to break it down before privatisation.

He said the first step was to unbundle and then go to the next phase of commercialisation or whichever route the government decides to take.

According to him, while Nigerians are right to be frustrated with the power sector because of lost opportunities, activities are now being undertaken to revamp the sector.

He stated that the government is transitioning from subsidising the sector to building critical infrastructure, lamenting that for instance, the whole TCN budget in 2014 was $30 million, resulting in a huge mismatch.

Under the Transmission Rehabilitation Expansion Programme (TREP), he said the World Bank would assist with about $1.6 billion, adding that the country recently signed $500 million for distribution expansion.

In addition, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has earmarked about $500 million as emergency fund for the sector while the Siemens initiative will see the expenditure of upwards of $2 billion over time.

Zakari said six Discos would align their activities with funds available, adding that metering has been improving liquidity since the new regime of tariffs took off last year.

Source: This Day

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