Traditionally, during the raining season, Nigeria always experience increase in power generation from the three hydro power plants namely Jebba power plant (500MW), Shiroro power plant (600MW) and Kainji power plant (800MW). These power plants get the much needed water for the dams to operate at optimal capacity.
It would be recalled that same experience occurred in June-July 2015 when power output was averaging 4000MW, and the politicians were quick to attribute the increase in generation to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari who had hardly spend two months in office.
Last week, Nigeria’s electricity generation increased from the 2,524.2 MW, it recorded during the first week of July to 3,032.7MW, and this was a far cry from the 17,720MW national peak demand forecast for the country.
In spite of government’s efforts to increase electricity supply in the country, generation has continued to hover around 1,000MW and 3000MW, no thanks to incessant attacks on gas pipeline infrastructure by the militants in the Niger Delta Region.
Though, the country’s installed capacity stands at 11,165.40MW, the country’s network operational capability remained 5,500MW while peak generation ever attained remained 5,500MW as at February 2016.
The country has been having series of challenges providing uninterrupted power supply in due to several issues that has to do with vandalism and poor state of the electricity infrastructure.
The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) had last month informed the general public that its 330kV Double Circuit transmission line between Okpai power station and Onitsha substation, would be switched off, resulting in the reduction of available grid generation by 300 Megawatts.
The switching off of the 330kV Double Circuit transmission line was to enable TCN carry out urgent reconstruction work on tower No 62, which is threatening to collapse. Though, distribution has slightly improved, some parts of the state still suffer from low voltage of electricity.
Meanwhile, electricity consumers across the country have decried the “outrageous bills” they receive from power distribution companies, saying the billing system is too harsh on them and stressed the need for provision of prepaid meters.
In a chat with the Nigerian Tribune, some of the consumers said the situation was particularly annoying because there was no commensurate power supply to match the high bills.
“I hardly get four hours of power supply in three days, but I am always asked to cough out about N12,000 at the end of the month,” said Mrs Mary Adeboye, a retiree who resides in Obanikoro.
Another customer, Mr Kazeem Sodiq, an entrepreneur stated that “I live in a one-bedroom apartment, I have just one television set and a fridge. I use energy saving bulbs in my house, yet I am charged between N4000 to N5000 every month, even with the epileptic power supply.
“I have asked them to give me a prepaid meter so that I will pay for only what I consume, but the story is always the same.»
Recounting her own experience, Mrs Chinyere Anuegbu stated that “The issue of outrageous bills I get every month is saddening, clearly, I know that I don’t consume one tenth of the electricity I am being charged. Those of us without prepaid meters are made to pay for what we do not consume. The act of estimated billing is wicked; you pay far more than the electricity supplied to your line.”