Nigeria will begin electricity trading with other West African countries from June 2018, according to Usman Mohammed, the Chairman of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) and managing director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
Mohammed stated that the formalisation of the electricity trading arrangement will be done under WAPP and the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA).
“WAPP in conjunction with ERERA, the regulatory body for West Africa is hoping to launch the regional electricity market by June 2018. Because of that, there are several sensitisations we are carrying out to sensitise member utilities firms on the plan to kick off the regional electricity market.
Under the arrangement, the country would be able to sell and purchase power from other ECOWAS countries like Ghana and Ivory Coast, Mohammed said.
He explained that: “There are several things that are involved in the regional electricity market and synchronisation is just one of them. It means that all the electricity that is generated across the sub region have to be synchronised so that from Nigeria to Cote D’Ivoire, can have the same power frequency and other places.”
Mohammed added: “As TCN, we anticipated this and that is why last year, we embarked on the frequency control which we achieved and attained at 39.5 and 30.5 frequency. In the last 20 years, this has not been achieved and it enabled WAPP and the rest of the country to synchronise their power.”
According to the WAPP chairman, “We have other mechanisms we are putting in place to ensure payment in the market but even as it is, the payment in the international market is far better than the local market and we are still working to improve it. Whether it will guarantee 100% payment, I can’t tell you because even in the WAPP sub-region like Benin and Niger, the distribution companies are still the weakest link as they are not collecting all the money.
“We are working with WAPP to improve the collection capacities of distribution firms by forming mechanisms that will guarantee payment like this synchronisation.”
Speaking further on how Nigeria could benefit from the regional power trading arrangement, Mohammed said: “The WAPP is to enable trade between Nigeria and other countries.
“Trade creates jobs; if there is a generation company in Nigeria that sells power to Benin, that company will create a job for Nigeria. It is also creating business for our country because the company that is selling energy in Benin will also be able to make the profit.”
He explained the vision of the regional electricity market, highlighting that it seeks “to provide energy security so that if tomorrow, Nigeria has a problem of gas supply, Nigeria can import energy from Ghana or Burkina Faso depending on which has a cheaper source of energy. We are not also building transmission lines for just five to 10 years, it is something that should last for 100 years to boost electricity trade.”