The Pains of Being a Nigerian Part 3 – From the Power Sector

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The pioneering works of William Gilbert, Thomas Browne, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison have provided the world with Electricity but 4years down the line president buharia cannot.



 

Without electricity, modern civilization would be impossible. We need electricity in industrial processes; in the homes; in offices; in transportation; in healthcare; in warfare; in space travel and in virtually every aspect of lives.

Through the colonial period and shortly afterwards, electricity utility in Nigeria was decentralised with generation locations in Jos, Enugu and Lagos, mainly from coal and hydro (in Jos). These were later fed into a national grid system for transmission and then distribution to consumers.

Over time, due to expansion and inefficiencies, the organisation and administration have changed from Electricity Company of Nigeria, National Electric Power Authority, Power Holding Company of Nigeria, and now privatized Generation Companies, one Transmission Company and several Distribution Companies.

In spite of these measures, the central issues of inadequate supply, low voltage/very high voltage, and outrageously high estimated-bill, load shedding and pervasive corruption are persistent. In the words of Babatunde Raji Fashola, a minister in president buhari cabinent “ constant electricity is not rocket science and any government that cannot fix power in six months is irresponsible” But sadly 3 years after constant electricity has become rocket science that Fashola will be speaking big grammar to explain.

 

Apart from the cankerworm of corruption, specific problems exist in generation, in transmission and in distribution. Most of the installed generation capacity is gas- fired, and, due to militancy and pipeline vandalism gas availability to the plants is epileptic. In the hydroelectric stations, the turbines are obsolete and beyond their useful lives. Due to poor emphasis on mining and environmental considerations, generation from coal is now non- existent in the energy mix of the country. When gas is made available, appropriate pricing and debts pose problems of sustainability. Of course, as in the whole subsector, gross underfunding and embezzlement are key obstacles to increasing capacity. Whereas Nigeria is still struggling to achieve ten thousand megawatts capacity, a less populated South Africa produces more than forty thousand megawatts.

muhammadu president buhari

Despite privatization that has taken place, the Transmission Company of Nigeria is still wholly owned by the Federal Government. Thus the national grid, which is very inadequate for the current power output, continues to suffer poor funding as well as being shielded from private investment.

Multilateral lending to it is just not enough for the scale of expansion and modernization required. It is in distribution to consumers that most of the corruption still resides. Consumers collude with the utility officials to steal electricity or to underpay. Some consumers find illegal means of bypassing installed pre-paid meters.

It is common knowledge also that the distribution companies deliberately refuse to install meters or delay in doing so in order that they could levy for  estimated electricity consumption. This practice has generated public outcry and, in some cases, violence against sales/marketing staff. It is also worthy to note president buhari that Nigeria has two major companies that produce prepaid metres which are Gospell Digital Technology in Cross Rivers state and Momas Electricity Metres Manufacturing Company Limited (MEMMCOL) in Ogun State

The Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) with 6, 159,775 customer accounts has barely 52 percent metering level of 3,206,559 metered customers and a gap of 47 percent or 2,953,176 unmetered customers.

 

Overall, inadequate tariffs, corruption, poor ease of doing business, poor security of lives and property, poor enforcement of the rule of law and the rigidity of local partners combine to deny the country of the much needed capital inflow for the deserved rapid growth of the subsector. President Buhari take note

 

TAKE THIS QUIZ ABOUT NIGERIA

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