The Federal Government through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has issued 13 new licences for the generation of off-grid and embedded power, independent electricity distribution, as well as for the trading of electricity.
It said the new licences were issued in the third quarter of 2023, as the cumulative quantum of electricity to be generated by the licensees was 40.9 megawatts
Under the section titled, ‘Licences and Permits Issued or Renewed,’ in the latest third quarter 2023 report of NERC, it was revealed that five new off-grid generation licences that would generate 8.81MW were issued during the review period, as well as one new licence for embedded generation of 5MW.
On other licences that were issued, the commission said, “One new licence for Independent Electricity Distribution Network, one new licence for trading, three off-grid generation licences, one embedded generation, and one IEDN licence.”
It explained that the commission issues licences for electricity generation, transmission, distribution, trading and system operations in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry.
“For activities that do not require licenses based on the provisions of sections 65-68 of the Electricity Act 2023, but still require authorisation from the commission, such as off-grid captive power generation and mini-grid development, the commission issues permits to the operators following a review of the relevant applications,” the NERC stated.
Nigeria generates between 3,500MW and 5,000MW of electricity for the over 200 million people across the country, a development that has been described as poor for Africa’s biggest economy.
On Monday, for instance, the country’s power generation at 6am was 4,357.09MW. Peak power generation the preceding day was 4,579.5MW, while off-peak power generation on the same day was 4,062.98MW. Many parts of Nigeria, particularly rural communities experience blackouts due to the country’s meagre power generation.
In June 2023, Nigeria was designated the country with the largest number of people lacking access to electricity, as 86 million of its over 200 million population were living without electricity as of 2021, according to a joint report by some international agencies.
The report compiled by the International Energy Agency, International Renewable Energy Agency, United Nations and the World Health Organisation, stated that the countries with the largest number of people without access to electricity as of 2021 include Nigeria (86 million), Democratic Republic of the Congo (76 million), and Ethiopia (55 million).
However, the Federal Government and operators in the power supply space have been making efforts to increase the country’s electricity output over the years, which led to the privatisation of the successor generation and distribution companies in November 2013.
The issuance of licences for the generation of electricity by the government through NERC is another way of boosting the country’s power supply and reducing the number of persons who lack electricity.
Providing further explanation on the 13 new power generation, distribution and trading licences, the NERC in its report stated that Daybreak Power Solutions Limited received eight licences for various off-grid power generation projects in Lagos, Abia, Borno, Kano, Oyo and Abuja.
Ekiti Independent Power Project got a licence for the development of a gas-fired 5MW embedded power project to be constructed in Ekiti State.
Olokiti Power Distribution Limited received an Independent Electricity Distribution Network licence that would be operational in Ekiti State.
Ember Power Limited got an electricity trading licence, while Island Power Limited got a licence for the development of a 10MW embedded gas-fired power project in Lagos.
Also, Energy Company of Nigeria Limited was issued an Independent Electricity Distribution Network licence that would be operational in Lagos State.
Power consumer groups have repeatedly condemned the poor electricity supply in Nigeria despite the trillions of naira invested in the sector. They have also charged the government and operators to work harder to deliver adequate electricity to Nigerians.