Electric Power is the engine that drives industrialization, which improves communication, helps innovation in science and Technology, provides sound healthcare delivery system and improves citizens’ standard of living. Thus, a stable Electric power supply is the key for Nigeria to become one of the 20 most developed economies in the world.
Unfortunately, Nigeria’s biggest problem is Electricity crisis, a crisis that seems to have no end.
Over the years, Electricity production in Nigeria has varied from gas-fired, oil fired, hydroelectric power station to coal fired stations.
With about 16 power plants in Nigeria, the nation is yet to boast of constant power supply.
Over the past few decades, successive Governments have tried to improve the power supply. Trillions of Naira had been spent; but little had been achieved. The problems we face today are a testimony to the inadequacy of past policies and the strongest possible signal that Nigeria needs to adopt a radically different approach to finding a solution.
The key challenges militating against the efficient delivery of adequate and reliable electricity supply in Nigeria are as follows:
Corruption: Nigeria was recently ranked; the 35th most corrupt nation in the world. Corruption has eaten deep into the nation’s economy and has slowed down the growth of the nation. The Power Sector is not spared. It is no longer news to hear that money budgeted for electricity supply is misused or transformers and other equipments needed to help power supply are stolen. Sadly, even when the offenders are caught, they are seldom persecuted.
High Capital Intensive nature of power sector projects: Public sector funding has been inadequate for both maintenance of the current system and the development of new energy sources.
Inadequate Power Generation Capacity: In comparison with other countries, Nigeria’s average daily generation of 3,700MW is grossly inadequate for a population of more than 150 million people. Factors affecting the generation capacity include old power plants vandalisation of existing power infrastructure; gas supply constraints and inadequate maintenance of equipment that stems from procurement bottlenecks; lack of skilled maintenance personnel in the sector; and the dependence on imports of parts and foreign experts to effect repairs and overhauls.
Transmission Network which is currently inadequate and inefficient in carrying the current power generated as well as moving generated power to where it is needed. There have also been high transmission losses.
Inefficient Billing and Metering System: One of the major challenges facing the Nigerian power sector is the low efficiency in billing and revenue collection by the Distribution Companies (DISCOS).
After 52 years of independence, the epileptic power supply has had adverse effects on the growth of the Nigerian economy. Foreign organizations that had their branches in the country, have been forced to relocate to neighbouring countries like Ghana and Benin republic where power supply is constant because of the cost of running a generator on a “daily basis.” However, this has lead to the increase in unemployment in the country. Small scale business owners like tailors, bakers, welders amongst others have to depend on generators. Unfortunately, it is the common man; the consumers of these aforementioned final products that pay the price. Even the telecommunications giants are not spared.
In recent times, there has been a clarion call by individuals and corporate bodies for the privatization of the Power sector. Privatization isn’t a new word to Nigerians, virtually all the major sectors of Nigeria’s economy has been privatized. The current President has almost concluded plans to privatize the Power sector. But does privatization of the power sector equate to constant power supply?
Apart from privatization, some researchers have come up with diverse means on how to put a lasting solution to the power problem in the country. See the list below:
- Full Deregulation;
- Energy mix;
- Structured maintenance;
- Adequate funding; and
- Power sharing with neighbouring countries.
Having said this, I strongly advise that we should pray and hope for things to get better, hope that someday, Nigeria will celebrate at least one month of uninterrupted power supply, hope that the already corrupt government officials will repent someday and deal with those “Powers” in authority who don’t want constant supply of light in the country because of the money they make from importing generators, hope that those “invisible beings” who send thugs to destroy transformers and other equipments that aid constant supply of electricity so that “they” can be awarded contracts to replace them will be exposed and the list goes on. Yes, pray and hope the slogan of majority of Nigerians.
Till then, make sure you service your generators monthly so that they can last longer.