As indications emerged recently that due to irregular supply of public electricity, about N3.5 trillion ($21.9 billion) is spent yearly by businesses, families and others in Nigeria to buy fuel for power generation; the country’s electricity consumption per capital has been adjudged to be the lowest in Africa, according to a report by Agusto & Co.
Onanuga lamented that despite the rich energy reserves, the enactment of the Power Reform Act and sustained government investments; Nigeria’s power supply still faces serious challenges.
Onanuga said it was regrettable that the country is experiencing such a crisis, “given that it is the most populous country in Africa, boasting of a population of 173 million people, which accounts for 16 per cent of the total population of Africa.”
According to him, there are currently 5, 172, 979 power consumers in Nigeria, among which nearly 54.15 per cent (2.8 million) have no installed meters. He revealed that the IKEDC had been able to distribute 61, 000 meters within its area of coverage, but stated that the target is to distribute at least 300, 000 meters by April 2017.
“Typically, Nigerians resort to self-generation of electricity; about 81 per cent of the national population (or 130 million Nigerians) generate electricity through alternative sources to compensate for irregular power supply, said Executive Director, Agusto & Co., Yinka Adelekan said while commenting on the report.
She disclosed that as at March 2014, electricity supply from the national grid stood at 4,306MW, far below the estimated demand of 12,800MW.
“Nigeria’s electricity generation capacity has fluctuated between 3,500MW and 4,400MW over the last two years, due in part to shortage of gas supply (a significant number of gas pipelines were vandalized across the country, which disrupted gas supply to power plants).
It is against this backdrop that the recent World Bank approved an International Development Association (IDA) Scale Up Facility Credit in the total amount of $486 million equivalent for rehabilitation and upgrading of electricity transmission substations and lines, has been said to be timely.
“Together with other investments and policy measures, the project will contribute to ensuring adequate and reliable electricity supply that is necessary for Nigeria’s continued economic development. It will also support private sector participation, capacity development and better governance in Transmission Company of Nigeria and sector institutions,” the World Bank said in a recent statement.
The Bank also stressed the need for the Federal Government to leverage on the support of development partners, and the private sector experience to scale up mini grids in efforts to provide electricity to the over 80 million Nigerians still without access to electricity.
This came as the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola said: “The Federal Government is committed to addressing the challenges in the public-owned transmission network and the financing being provided by the World Bank under the Nigeria Electricity Transmission Project power sector underlines this commitment. The Federal Government anticipates that private sector financing in the privately-owned segments of the value-chain will complement the government’s efforts in bringing better quality service to citizens.”