Manufacturers generate 13,000MW from alternative energy sources
.Laud govt’s eligible customer policy on power consumption
With generated power insufficient to meet demands of local producers, manufacturers in the country have generated at least 13,000MW of electricity under its Independent Power Projects (IPPs) and micro grid platforms to meet their operational demands.According to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), manufacturers experience inadequate electricity supply with an average of 9 hours and 4 times power outage daily.
With alternative energy utilisation and relative improvement in electricity supply to manufacturing companies from the national grid, expenditure on electricity in the sector totalled N117.38 billion in 2017 as against N129.95 billion recorded in 2016; thus, indicating N12.57 billion decline over the period.
MAN President, Dr. Frank Jacobs, while acknowledging government’s efforts in addressing the challenges of inadequate electricity supply, pointed out that the privatisation of the power sector leading to strategic initiatives are worthy of note.Jacobs, who was represented by the vice president, North West Zone, MAN, Ibrahim Usman, at a special interactive forum on eligible customer regulation, lamented that Nigerian manufacturers currently self-generate as much as 13,000MW through alternative sources in order to remain in business.
The manufacturers also extolled the federal government’s eligible consumer policy designed to empower consumers to contract premium services from the national grid at lower tariff to boost industrialisation and power supply in the country.He said: “Do not forget that this is a new initiative from the federal government to fill up the energy gaps. We need to inform our members so that they will take advantage of the opportunity. The essence of this gathering is to let MAN members know how they can take advantage of the eligible customer regulation.
“There is 2000MW available for take-off and this is the first time it is happening so we must be very grateful to the government, to the Transmission Company of Nigeria and the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) for all the support and initiative.”He added that so far, the government has done very well to ensure that electricity is generated, but a lot of it is not being consumed due to challenges in the transmission network.
“But this initiative is commendable because it allows power to get to its customers so that those generating the power are also paid. For us manufacturers, most of us spend close 32 to 40 per cent of our cost on electricity supply and this is why are products are not competitive at the global arena. We must have electricity that is reliable, constant and at a good price”, he explained further.He urged the federal government to act as a nexus between manufacturers and Discos, noting that toiling with the success of the manufacturing sector poses a big threat to employment.
“The government has to create an intervention with respect to debts accrued to MAN members so that our members can enjoy this 2000Megawatts of electricity,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, the General Manager, Corporate Finance, North South Power Company Limited, Kolapo Joseph, said his company currently sells power directly to manufacturing companies who consume two megawatts and above, saying that for the first time in Nigeria’s history, generation companies are able to sell directly to customers which would be reliable, efficient and contracted power.
“About five companies are already buying power directly from Gencos and that is why we are using this event to reach out to MAN members that the eligible customer regulation is real. We are bringing contracted reliable power supply. We need to industrialise the country while also supporting the manufacturing base.“The transmission company has been driving this initiative and we are also aggressive on this because we believe in this vision but it is now to convince people that have been misinformed to let them know this is possible,” he added.