Blackout Worsened by Discos’ Rejection of 5,452.96MW

Power Sector

Amid the outcry of blackout in various locations across the country by consumers, a total of 5,452.96 megawatts of electricity was rejected by Power Distribution Companies in one week.

Discos load summary obtained from the Transmission Company of Nigeria in Abuja on Saturday showed that the power distributors rejected this quantum of electricity in the final week of February 2021.

A critical analysis of the report indicated that most power firms failed to utilise some quantum of electricity allocated to them by TCN under the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) allocation from February 22 to 28, 2021.

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The report also showed that although each of the 11 Discos had a maximum load (energy) nomination which they nominated for, there was a MYTO allocation for the power firms as approved by the industry.

Observation has shown that the actual load consumption of most of power firms was less than the MYTO allocation that was approved by the industry. This leads to a total of 5,452.96MW unutilised power within the one-week period.

For instance, only Abuja and Port-Harcourt Discos collected and distributed the entire MYTO load allocation which they got from TCN. The remaining nine power firms rejected a cumulative total of 737.74MW of electricity on February 22, 2021.

On February 23, all the 11 power firms could not utilise a total 672.87MW, while the next day, Abuja, Enugu, Ibadan and Port Harcourt Discos used all their MYTO allocations, as the other seven rejected a total of 392.26MW.

The report showed that February 27 recorded the highest single-day load rejection, as the 11 power firms failed to utilise or distribute a cumulative total of 1,069.24MW of electricity.

Abuja Disco recorded the least quantum of unutilised electricity load during the one-week period, as it rejected only 25.21MW. On the other hand, Ikeja Disco in Lagos rejected the highest quantum of electricity, as it failed to utilise 987.42MW during the seven-day period.

The electricity load rejections by Discos were in spite of the fact that consumers complained about blackouts in many locations across the country.

The National Secretary, Nigeria Electricity Consumer Advocacy Network, Uket Obonga, said load rejections had lingered in the sector despite the darkness in many parts of the country at nights.

“We’ve been receiving complaints from various locations by consumers across the country on how they hardly get power, but unfortunately, Discos are rejecting load from TCN,” he said.

Obonga added, “We know the Discos have their own reasons for doing this, but the truth is that for how long will Nigerians suffer in darkness as a result of issues in the power sector?”

Speaking further on load rejection, Obonga blamed this on the poor transmission and distribution infrastructure in many parts of Nigeria.

He said, “There have been incidents of conductors falling and killing people and damaging properties. What is responsible for that? These conductors which are transmission or distribution infrastructure have been there for decades.

“Some have been there for over 30, 40 years. Who has taken time to investigate and know how a conductor lasts? What of the concrete polls, cross bars, insulators?”

According to him, many of the power equipment had been installed since the 1960s and 1970s and were still being used to transmit and distribute electricity.

Obonga asked: “Are you aware that between Abuja and Kaduna, the Disco in Kaduna cannot take its allocated load because the transmission infrastructure there that links Abuja and Kaduna cannot transmit the load?

“When you go to Ikeja and check the line that connects Ikeja to Ikorodu, it was installed in 1971 or 1972. When it was installed, all the communities that are now connected to the grid through that line were not there.

“It was just a few factories and houses that were there then. But today, a section of Ikorodu cannot be supplied adequately and so what is being done to improve and upgrade transmission infrastructure?”

Power distribution companies had repeatedly explained that the supply of electricity to consumers was purely a business and should be supplied to customers who were willing to pay.

According to them, it would be counter-productive to the revenue drive of the sector if electricity was collected and distributed in locations where it had been tough for Discos to recoup the bills for power supplied.