‘Electricity supply still at infancy’, says NERC as labour battles DisCos

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The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), has said that the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), is still in its “infancy”, hence, close monitoring and supervision must be improved, to ensure compliance with the grid code, market rules, and other relevant industry standards.

The Commission disclosed this is the ‘Final Report On Operations and Technical Audit of Market and System Operations of TCN’ report obtained on Tuesday. This is as the labour unions on Monday, began a nationwide picketing of electricity distribution companies over an increase in electricity tariff. The NERC announced the hike in the electricity tariff for Band A customers at a press briefing in Abuja on April 3, revealing that those affected would pay ₦225 per kilowatt-hour, up from the previous rate of ₦68/kWh. The hike represented a 240 per cent increase.

The tariff hike had caused a nationwide uproar, with NLC demanding a reversal. Amidst the protests which saw operations of the DisCos disrupted nationwide, NERC said the current electricity supply is not economically driven. “It is very difficult to call the arrangement we have today as an economically driven market, as it is not efficient, and prices are not determined on the dynamic behaviour of the network, competitive pricing and consideration of the other operating parameters like congestion,” the report stated.

It added that there was a need for developing the network planning documents, so that the expansion projects are selected and implemented based on engineering principles. “The National Control Centre must be upgraded to serve as the nerve centre of NESI,” NERC added. Although the country’s generation installed capacity is 12, 954 megawatts, according to NERC’s data, only 5,755MW is available to the grid.

The Commission said the installed capacity is not utilised due to: Transmission and distribution bottlenecks, frequency management coupled with DisCos low demand, and transmission lines congestion. “The National Control Centre is not fit for purpose in a privatised electricity market. A comprehensive plan must be developed and implemented to equip the NCC control room with a functioning SCADA system, that will enable the operators to oversee the grid performance at all nodes in real-time,” the report added.

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