Fact-Check: Do Nigerian states now have ‘almost 24 hours’ power supply?

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By Simon Echewofun Sunday.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said that some states including Kebbi and Yobe, now enjoy almost 24 hours power supply and that government has delivered on incremental power.

Fashola spoke on the Sunrise Daily programme of Channels Television recently. Testifying on what he described as ‘fragile’ improvement of power supply, he said, “Sitting down here, I can tell you some states that have almost 24 hour power today. Kebbi for example, Yobe for example and some have five, some have 10. There are still outages and even all of these are a little fragile and we still need to consolidate.

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He had earlier said his administration delivered on incremental power as the transmission wheeling capacity rose to 8,100 megawatts (MW) as at December 2018.

The Daily Trust checked these claims against the reality of electricity supply nationwide.

Claim 1: Some states have almost 24 hour power – Yobe, Kebbi states

Our survey in Yobe State showed that power supply has increased from what it was before December 2018. The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) built four new substations in the northeast region, particularly in Damaturu, Maiduguri, Adamawa and Bauchi which has increased bulk power transmission, record from the company shows

Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC) is a public firm serving as the DisCo for the northeast. It has been getting an average of 170MW daily from the national grid and is distributing a larger percentage of this due to the new substations and the transformers it installed, a series of the DisCos’ social media publication said.

A survey of some residents of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa in the northeast shows that power supply had risen to an average of 16 hours in the capital cities. These include Yobe, part of Maiduguri and Yola.

On Twitter, Almubarak Umar (@ALmubarak_umar), a resident of Yola said YEDC was doing great because as at March 28, he has seen light for more than 24 hours at Barracks road. His fear is that the transformer around there blows up every day due to the long hour supply.

Responding, YEDC said: Thank you @ALmubarak_umar But las las we go fix the transformer sharp sharp!

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Lukman Dahiru, another Yola resident confirmed the improvement in power supply, saying, Yes, Yola @YedcPlc

Sanusi Yahya @sanusiyahyaS also agreed for Yola saying, “@YedcPlc supplies almost 24/7 in Yola.”

In Damaturu, Suleiman Yaro said some parts of the town enjoy above 18 hour power supply on the average. “But it does not spread to the entire state; however, supply has improved significantly.”

In Kebbi, reports show that Governor Atiku Bagudu bought more transformers to assist the DisCo – Kaduna Electric. He also gave massive support to TCN to complete the Yauri substation recently. With these efforts, power infrastructure rose and there is significant supply in Birnin Kebbi and few other local governments.

Our analysis was also based on the latest DisCos’ load summary of March 31, 2019.

Yola DisCo topped in distributing about 101 per cent of the 159.98MW, the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) allows it to take. YEDC took excess of 0.53MW. This signifies improved power supply across its franchise.

However, the 10 other DisCos were between 12 per cent (Abuja DisCo) and 50 per cent (Ibadan DisCo) short of the energy they should get as stipulated by MYTO. Kaduna DisCo where Kebbi is, fell short of 24 per cent (88MW) MYTO energy allocation.

MYTO requires Abuja DisCo to take 525MW but it got 460MW while 12% (65MW) was unutilised. In Lagos, Eko DisCo took 396MW and could not get 208MW (35%); Ikeja DisCo took 550MW and was 135MW short of its expected capacity.

Verdict:

While the minister could be termed as right on improvement in power supply, his generalization that some states now have 24 hours power supply may not be completely true. While Yola DisCo has improved, many other DisCos are not getting enough of what the MYTO 2015 allocates to them from the grid.

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If they cannot get enough supply, it will be difficult supplying 24 hour power to any entire state. Surveys also show customers in the capital city of Yobe and Yola testified to seeing prolonged power supply but it is not wholly so with those outside the states’ capital.

The minister also said there are still outages and that some states get five hour and 10 hour power daily. The problem with the statement is that of generalization which the minister did.

Claim 2: We have delivered on incremental power – Fashola

The minister during the programme said, “We set out short term goals in my ministry. First, get incremental power and we have delivered on incremental power and we will continue to increase.

“At this next level of obligation, what we want to see is more incremental power and stable power in some places,” he noted.

Clarifying what he means by this, he said: “The transmission capacity has grown again. The last simulation that we did in December 2018 was 8,100 (megawatts), the generation capacities are also increasing but it’s a value chain where the distribution optic is not matching up with the available power and of course from time to time, there are snags in the value chain.”

Experts have said the availability of capacity does not mean actual power supply to the homes of Nigerians.

A periodic study of the daily electricity statistics obtained from TCN database indicate that the average power transmitted for distribution to DisCos has never gone beyond 4,000MW, often measured in Megawatt hour (MWH) for any 24 hours.

The highest peak power generated in the history of Nigeria was 5,375MW on February 7, 2019. It was only recorded at 9pm and slipped back shortly after.

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Countering this claim, the DisCos’ group – Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) recently told Daily Trust on Sunday that although TCN said generation has risen to 6000MW and transmission to 8,100MW, TCN has never wheeled power up to 6,000MW to the DisCos to supply customers any day.

The Director of Advocacy and Research at ANED, Mr Sunday Oduntan said, “In the current MYTO tariff, the assumption there is that by 2017, we would have generated 7,000MW and by 2018 we would have done 9,000MW.

“Are we on that now? TCN has not wheeled power up to 6,000MW for a period of one week since 1960 to 2019. This is a fact, they can prove me,” Oduntan said.

Verdict: The claim that the federal government has delivered on incremental power is not wholly true. This is because experts claim having wheeling and installed capacity does not translate to increased power to end users.

Statistics in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) has it that four constraints often trouble the power sector. They are inadequate gas supply to the GenCos, transmission line constraints to deliver bulk power in certain areas of Nigeria, DisCos energy rejection and water level shortage for the hydropower GenCos.

Although peak generation increased from 4,500MW in 2015 to 5,200MW in 2017 and 5,300MW in February, 2019, the average daily power has remained at a range of 3,400MW and 4,000MW on a daily basis.

The 8,100MW wheeling capacity does not translate to 8,100MW power distribution to the country neither has even the 5,300MW historic peak generation been sustained for one day.

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