Nigeria needs more gas power plants to meet country’s energy demand  — NBET

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…Corporation among stakeholders key to power sector’s success — NERC

By Ogaga Ariemu

The Managing Director/CEO, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET), Dr Nnaemeka Ewelukwa said the nation needs more gas power plants to meet country’s increasing energy demand.

Ewelukwa made this disclosure to Nigerian NewsDirect yesterday during a panel session featuring several energy stakeholders on Nigeria’s gas-to-power masterplan in the Nigeria Energy conference.

He disclosed that the Edo State-based independent power producer (IPP), Azura power plant signed a gas purchase agreement with Seplat Energy in 2014, which gave Seplat a line of revenue for over 10 years. This line of revenue enabled Seplat to invest about US$300 million to expand its gas facilities. He alluded to the fact that the Seplat expansion would not have been possible without the Azura power plant.

He added that there need for NBET, Discos, Gencos, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria (GACN), to work together, so as to accelerate the drive towards having an efficient electricity market.

“To build more gas-based power plants, there is a need for power purchase agreements and there is a need for full payments, otherwise, there will be a gap in the value chain,” he says.

“When DisCos are efficient in their operations and are making payments to NBET, it becomes possible for NBET to pay generating companies (Gencos). In turn, GenCos would be able to pay gas suppliers. Our goal is to get the system working to the point where NBET is no longer needed to transfer funds from Discos to Gencos, because we now have a truly competitive electricity market,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for legal, license and compliance at the Nigeran Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in his remarks at the conference told attendees that coordination and communication between policymakers and regulators is key to pushing the value chain forward.

“There is a massive mismatch in the power sector. Only until recently, the government was subsidizing our power consumption. We have had tariff review battles with labour unions because there is a perception that consumers are paying for darkness,” he said.

He called for patience on the part of Nigerians, stating that power supply tariff payments should be made, so as to play the long game and at the end of the day, the power sector will be better off for it. He also reminded stakeholders that Nigerians need to know the roadmap to power sector success, which outlines the journey and cost to get to the destination, so, they can make better choices.