Ahead of the forthcoming 6th Powering Africa: Nigeria 2017 Summit, with the theme: “Recapitalising Nigeria’s Power Sector,” expectations are high that solutions will be proffered in regards to nation’s energy problems and on how best to pull resources to adequately finance the power sector in quest of 20,000 megawatts (MW) by 2020.
This is particularly so with current generating capacity at about 6,803MW, and wheeling capacity of 6,700MW by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), far below the 20,000MW target expected in three years time.
The Summit is being hosted by the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA), with the support of the Senate Committee on Power, Steel and Metallurgy, and the Federal Ministry of Power, Works, and Housing in Abuja, from October 4-6, and being organised by EnergyNet Limited.
Majority of Nigerians residing in off-grid communities and villages are currently without access to electricity, where solar power is scarcely provided, while those on-grid are uncertain of reliable supply due to dilapidated and ineffective transmission and distribution network infrastructure.
Also, Nigeria is most likely to take advantage of the summit to appeal to her West African neighbours to pay up the debts owed her for power already supplied. The CEB of Benin Republic and NIGELEC of Niger Republic owe Nigeria $101.46million and $14.45million respectively.
Currently, the Distribution Companies (DisCos) and TCN are increasing pressure for recapitalisation of the power sector for efficient service delivery.
The DisCos contend that the federal government has reneged on pre-privatisation agreements aimed at refinancing the power sector, and agreeing to cost reflective tariffs through the sector regulator, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to boast revenues for reinvestment in distribution infrastructure.
The TCN recently made case for an extraordinary tariff review for ensuring that Generation Companies (GenCos) are incentivised to provide sufficient spinning reserves and other ancillary services critical for managing the national grid.
The Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generating Companies (APGC), Dr. Joy Ogaji, complained that although the GenCos have the capacity of increasing generation to 24,000MW, but the TCN’s weak transmission network can only take 5,000MW, while the DisCos cannot take up to 5,000MW.
It is expected that investors will explore the opportunities and the gaps prevailing in Nigeria’s power, and pool resources for investment in critical areas of the sector.
The conference hopes to address issues around the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP), approved by the Federal Executive Council, to boost the required high-quality and sustainable supply for Nigeria’s industrial and economic growth.