‘Failed discretionary interventions in NESI driven by lack of data’
Stakeholders have linked the lack of reliable data in the Nigerian electricity industry to the failure in the interventions and policies being designed by the Federal Government, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Authority (NERC) and others.
They also expressed concerns over possible implications of the development for accountability and transparency in the face of continuous interventions, low revenue and estimated billing.
For over eight years, consumer enumeration remained a challenge in the sector, as the industry continued to focus on eight million users while verifiable and centralised statistics remained a mirage.
With the recent increase in electricity tariff, the Federal Government is currently subsidising the sector, as its intervention, alongside that of the CBN, stands above N2 trillion. While a series of policies in the sector failed to achieve desired results, most stakeholders noted that the development might not be unconnected with the sector’s lack of data that will show the true reflection of the industry.
Coming at a time when the sector is begging for proper assessment of the performance of the sector since privatisation, experts insisted that data remained critical for the industry.
Although the Transmission Company of Nigeria, Nigerian Electricity Trading Company and the presidency provide data on market performance, electricity consumption, load shedding and others, Executive Secretary of the Association for Power Generation Companies,
Dr. Joy Ogaji stated that data have become crucial in the sector to aid the determination of the concomitant requirements for distribution, transmission, and generation infrastructure growth.
She noted that without adequate data, the sector may be unable to get efficient regulation, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), adding that reliable data will guide the development of efficiency and profitability requirements in the sector.
With the agitation that current consumer figures in the sector are unreliable, Ogaji noted that data would enable true customer demographics, a necessary factor in tariff disaggregation, which according to her is questionable.
She added that data would enable the DisCos and their partners (MAP) to be able to meter all the customers given their inability to account for all their customers and lack of financial resources.
Ogaji also linked reliable data to proper technical analysis/audit of all infrastructures with a view to determining a bankable technical loss factor, a key input for the determination of ATC & C losses in the distribution segment.
Ogaji said: “Investments to improve data quality and adequacy in all subsectors of the industry, with the priority being the distribution subsector for obvious reasons will solve several issues inhibiting the growth of the sector, especially the inability of the DisCos to make capital investments.
“Government’s continued intervention through the CBN, though a welcome development, without establishing a better understanding of the market through bankable data, may not yield the desired results.”
Executive Director at Powerup Initiative for Electricity Rights, Adetayo Adegbemle, noted that the lack of consolidated data for the power sector is worrisome.
According to him, there is a need to aggregate the power sector data into something that is useful for business intelligence.
Adegbemle stated that the level of the data currently available in the sector might unreliable, adding that without data, there is no way decisions would be intelligent.