Power firms short on cash, need $2.5bn new capital – FG

The Federal Government has established that Nigerian electricity companies are short of an estimated N2tn ($2.5bn) in capital and need new investors to revive the industry that can barely supply power to its 200 million residents.

Power companies in Nigeria are over-leveraged and under-capitalised, which has limited their capacity to invest in distributing electricity to households, Olu Verheijen, an adviser to President Bola Tinubu on energy, said in an interview, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

Nigeria generates and supplies between 3,500MW and 4,500MW to the millions of citizens across its 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. On Thursday, for instance, the country’s power generation was 4,582.49MW as of 6 am.

Inadequate pricing, patchy revenue collection and a dilapidated national grid have left most residents in Africa’s most populated nation to produce their power using noisy generators.

Take the case of Lagos. The grid delivers only 1,000MW to a city of 25 million people. By contrast, Shanghai, with roughly the same population, supplies more than 30,000MW at peak demand.

“We need to set policies that facilitate reorganisation and recapitalisation and bring in new partners with new capital,” the adviser said, without providing a date or more details for the plan.

The recapitalisation will accompany plans to make electricity tariffs cost-reflective, which will improve the liquidity and viability of the power sector, Verheijen said.

While the country privatised generation and distribution in 2013, tariffs are set by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, a government-controlled body.

Power firms are not allowed to charge enough to recover the cost of distributing electricity, with the government paying the difference as a subsidy to companies in the sector.

Without a tariff review, weakness in the naira — which slumped 50 per cent against the dollar last year — and accelerating inflation could push energy subsidies to N1.6tn this year from N600bn in 2023, according to the regulator.

Culled from Punch