The electricity Distribution Companies of Nigeria (DisCos) still grapple around issues bothering the power sector. Analysis of the Average Technical Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) Loss Data from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), has shown that DisCos are still finding it difficult to cut down losses.
It was gathered that right from the end of 2018, and into the first two months of 2019 – January and February, none of the DisCos has been able to meet the average ATC&C loss projections they made in the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO).
On the average, the DisCos proposed to reduce their ATC&C losses to 29.9 per cent, but have only been able to achieve a 53.9 per cent loss reduction, thus signifying a poor ATC&C level.
For example, between December 2018 and February 2019, while the Abuja DisCo which proposed an ATC&C reduction level of 33.54 per cent, was able to achieve only 33 per cent , 47 per cent and 41 per cent respectively for the period; Benin DisCo had in its plan to reduce its loss levels to 38.62 per cent, but still recorded 53 per cent, 56 per cent and 58 per cent in December, January and February respectively.
Also, while Eko DisCo with its 19.44 per cent reduction target, it had 29 per cent, 30 per cent and 31 per cent reduction levels respectively for the period; Enugu with 38.43 per cent target had 53 per cent, 54 per cent, and 57 per cent to show for its efforts; Ibadan had aimed at cutting its losses to 30.41 per cent but was still struggling with 49 per cent, 51 per cent and 52 per cent loss levels in December 2018, as well as January and February 2019 respectively.
The other DisCos such as Ikeja with a plan to reduce its losses to 20.82 per cent, had them at 28 per cent, 30 per cent and 31 per cent respectively in the three months stated above; Jos DisCo (20.82 per cent) – 69 per cent, 70 per cent and 71 per cent; Kaduna (31.93 per cent) – 75 per cent, 73 per cent and 77 per cent; Kano (38.20 per cent) – 49 per cent, 57 per cent and 47 per cent in the review months respectively; Port Harcourt (45 per cent) – 64 per cent, 65 per cent and 69 per cent; while Yola DisCo which has remained under the management of the federal government since its handover by Integrated Energy Solutions, had plans to reduce its ATC&C losses to 32.8 per cent, but still recorded 70 per cent, 69 per cent and 68 per cent in the period under review.
In perspective, the NERC in its third quarter 2018 report of activities in the country’s power sector, complained of the impact of the DisCos’ loss levels on the market. The regulator equally noted it was working out modalities to address the development.
The report explained: “Pursuant to the strong commitment of the Commission to address DisCos’ technical inefficiency, a capital expenditure process is being considered whereby investments by DisCos would be thoroughly reviewed and optimized for prudence and relevance to achieving goals of the licensee.”
A revenue adjustment mechanism is to be adopted in subsequent tariff reviews, to claw back any return allowed on previously proposed investments that were not eventually executed by the DisCos. This action is expected to improve DisCos’ commitment to their network upgrade and subsequently reduce technical losses.
It equally added: “To address commercial losses, the commission has continued to monitor the DisCos’ asset mapping and tagging under the framework of the ongoing customer enumeration in order to identify illegal consumers and bring same onto the billing platform. Moreover, the Commission is closely monitoring the DisCos’ procurement of Meter Asset Providers for compliance with the requirements of the Meter Asset Providers (MAP) Regulations. Finally, the Commission is closely working with the National Assembly to ensure timely conclusion of the Energy Theft Bill.”
With regards to provision of meters to electricity consumers, the NERC data also showed the DisCos were slow in deployment within the period which was before the NERC signed off their respective third-party meter provision arrangements under the MAP regulation.