Has Electricity Generation Worsened or Improved Since 2015? We Verified

Nigeria’s top two political parties apparently disagree on how much electricity the country is currently generating compared to four years ago when the Buhari administration started.

Speaking in August, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the power sector was no longer where it used to be three years ago when “power generation was the main problem of Nigeria”.

“We were distributing averagely 2,690 megawatts of electricity to Nigerians, but today, that story has changed, distribution has risen to 5,222 megawatts, an all-time national high,” he said at the fourth edition of the Ministry’s retreat for top directors, heads of units and chief executives of agencies and parastatals.

“Transmission has reached 7,000 while generation has reached 7,000. The problem has not finished but all we can say is that, we have made progress,” he added.

Also, in May 2018, while highlighting its many achievements, the presidency stated that its Transmission Expansion and Rehabilitation Programme “has resulted in a 50 per cent expansion in Grid Capacity since 2015, from 5,000MW to 7,125MW as at December 2017”.

In contrast, the opposition People’s Democratic Party, which ruled between 1999 and 2015, has disputed these claims in a recent press statement released by Phrank Shaibu, its presidential candidate’s Special Adviser on Public Communications.

“Talking of infrastructure, despite an ‘investment’ of over N1 trillion by the Buhari-led APC administration in infrastructure, the nation’s roads have become death traps and power generation has actually dipped from 4,949 megawatts PDP left in 2015 to less than 3,500 megawatts even though Buhari’s handlers consistently claim that 7,000 megawatts is what is currently being generated,” he said.

What the statistics really say

The Nigeria Electricity System Operator, a subsidiary of the Transmission Company of Nigeria which operates the transmission system, has been making daily operational reports on electricity generation data publicly available. The reports date back to April 9 2014, and have been uploaded on the agency’s website nearly every day since then.

Each report states the peak and lowest generation of the previous day, the national peak demand forecast, installed generation capacity (of all generating plants), available generation capacity, current transmission capability of all high voltage substations (also called transmission wheeling capacity), network operational capability, peak generation ever attained, among other data.

For clarity purposes, installed generation (or nominal) capacity is the “intended full-load sustained output of a facility such as a power plant and available generation capacity is the amount of electricity a generator produces over a specific period of time, which may vary due to planning, conditions at the power plant or fuel costs.

Also, current transmission capability refers to the maximum amount of electricity transmission lines can transport from the grid to distribution lines, which then wheel to the final consumers; and then the network operational capability shows the actual amount of power consumers can get “per time from the industry through the Distribution Companies”.


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