News Round-Up (June 2020)
There has been an increase in COVID-19-positive cases! Remember to protect yourself and others. Regularly washing your hands with running water or using an alcohol based rub and not touching any parts of your face with unwashed hands. Also maintain a distance of about a metre between yourself and others when in public, use a nose/face mask and if required by regulation, do stay home. Stay safe.
1. Two New Mini-Grids Commissioned in Bayelsa State
The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has commissioned two solar hybrid mini-grids in the villages of Akipelai and Oloibiri, Bayelsa State, with a total capacity of 134.64kW for both communities under the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP). These two hybrid mini-grid systems include 134.64kW of solar PV, 180kWh of lithium battery storage and two units of 100kVA diesel generator sets. The mini-grids are estimated to power 364 households.
The project was designed and developed by Renewvia Energy Corporation, a recipient of the Performance-Based Grant from the REA through the World Bank funded NEP.
2. Discos Announces New Power Tariff Effective, July 1, NASS Asks Discos to Suspend Plans to Increase Power Tariff. New Tariff to Come into Effect First Quarter 2021.
Electricity distribution companies in Nigeria (DisCos) announced that a new electricity tariff increase will take effect from 1 July 2020. The increase was meant to be a follow-up to the charges set in 2015. The hike was due to the rising cost of electricity generation. Also, the increase was meant to stop the subsidy of electricity by cash-strapped Federal Government. It also meant everyone in the electricity market will take full responsibility for service delivery and payment remittance.
But after a meeting between the leadership of the National Assembly, the DisCOs and NERC, the hike has been postponed to the first quarter of next year.
According to a press statement following the meeting, the leaders of the National Assembly said that while the tariff increase was necessary, the timing was bad as Nigerians are still reeling from the negative effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. According to the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan,
"The agreement here is that there is not going to be an increase in the tariffs on July 1st. The Speaker and I, are going to take appropriate action and meet with the President. We are in agreement here that there is no question on the justification of the increase but the time is simply not right and appropriate measures need to be put in place.”
3. World Bank Approves $750 Million Loan to Nigeria's Power Sector.
The World Bank on June 23rd announced that it has approved the sum of $750 million as a loan to Nigeria’s power sector after years of negotiations over long term reforms in the sector. The loan was for Power Sector Recovery Operation (PSRO) to improve the reliability of electricity supply, achieve financial and fiscal sustainability, and enhance accountability in the power sector in Nigeria.
In the statement, the World Bank noted that about 47% of Nigerians do not have access to grid electricity, and those who do have access, face regular power cuts. In addition, the economic cost of power shortages in Nigeria is estimated at around $28 billion which is equivalent to 2% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri:
The lack of reliable power has stifled economic activity and private investment and job creation, which is ultimately what is needed to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.The objective of this operation is to help turn around the power sector and set it on a fiscally sustainable path. This is particularly urgent at a time when the government needs all the fiscal resources it can marshal to help protect lives and livelihoods amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PSRO will ensure that 4,500 MWh/hour of electricity is supplied to the distribution grid by 2022 by strengthening the regulatory, policy, and financing framework. It will also enhance accountability and financial viability of the sector, helping the sector create a track record of sustainable operation necessary for unlocking much needed private investments in the future.