Energy crunch worsens as output drops to 2,200mw
Prices of kerosene, diesel, petrol, gas remain high
Nigerians’ economic hardship has taken a turn for the worse as electricity supply dropped from the 4,883.9 mega watts (mw) it recorded in the last one month to 2,200mw as at January 21, 2017.
This is far below the country’s installed capacity of 11,165.40mw and network operational capability of 5,500mw.
Over 450mw of electricity has been trapped at the Afam V Power Station in Rivers State following a fire incident, in which Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) protection and control equipment were destroyed last week.
The drop in electricity supply, according to the Head, Programmes and Membership, Institute of Directors’ Centre for Corporate Governance, Nerus Ekezie, will worsen the suffering of the citizens as the rate of inflation in the country is already 19.6 per cent.
Ekezie added that inadequate electricity would lead to high cost of production, increase in prices of goods and reduced purchasing power of consumers.
Besides, the prices of some petroleum products, such as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), also known as cooking gas; kerosene and Automotive Gasoline Oil (AGO) also known as diesel, recorded a significant increase, forcing Nigerians to spend a huge chunk of their earnings on the essential commodities.
Despite promises by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ensure maximum supply of all the petroleum products, the prices have remained high.
For example, the price of diesel rose from about N190 to over N250 per litre since last week, while the prices of cooking gas and kerosene, two important commodities used by almost every home in the country, rose from about N3, 500 for a 12.5-kilogramme cylinder and N83 per litre to N5,000 and N300 per litre.
Though kerosene is no longer scarce, the product is now selling at N300 per litre as against the pump price of N150 per litre. The situation has also led to an increase in the price of charcoal and firewood as alternatives to kerosene and cooking gas.
The average prices of PMS in Abia, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Edo, Gombe, and Imo states are around N147 and N150 per litre. Consumers in Kwara, Bayelsa and Kebbi states were buying petrol at N152 per litre as at December 2016, according to the National Bureau of Statistics report on petroleum products released recently.
Also, the price of kerosene has moved from N142 to N283 per litre.
NBS put the price of kerosene in Ondo, Osun, Ogun, Lagos at N274, N275, N247 and N250 per litre.
For diesel, the price remains at N211 per litre in Zamfara, Kebbi and Rivers, while the product sells around N180 per litre and N185 in Adamawa, Taraba, Pleateau, Abuja, Yobe and Gombe.
The General Manager, External Relations of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), Kudo Eresia-Eke attributed the challenges of cooking gas to what he described as recent delays in vessel discharges at the receiving facilities at Apapa port in Lagos. He said the challenges had led to a temporary supply disruption in the last two to three weeks.
‘‘For instance, NLNG’s dedicated LPG vessel has been unable to discharge LPG at the Apapa port since December 29, 2016 due to jetty unavailability, resulting in temporary product shortages in the market,’’ he said.
The President of the Nigerian LPG Association (NLPGA), Dayo Adeshina, told The Guardian that priority should be given to LPG at vessel jetties in the country.
“There is an infrastructural challenge. The fact is that jetties or receiving terminals are only three in Lagos. In two which are multiproduct terminals where you have ATK, PMS and others, priority is given to those products rather than LPG.”
According to Adeshina, the Federal Government is aware of the situation and is already working to tackle jetty congestion.
On the shortage in power supply, the General Manager, Public Affairs, of the TCN, Seun Olagunju blamed low power generation. “It is not particularly the fire incident but the vandalism of gas pipelines that resulted in short supply of gas to thermal power generating stations.”