Managing Director, Millwater Limited Solutions, Jude Nwoko, has said that the country needs to begin to progressively review our position on government funding of power. According to him, in order to foster progress, any country must establish equitable systems for the exchange of value. Hence, when value is provided, it should be duly compensated. He said that for a nation to advance, every component within its framework must align with this principle. But in some inexplicable way, energy manages to avoid being lost and instead gets transferred between locations.
Considering this, it becomes clear that the power shortage in Nigeria is compensated by the efforts of its citizens to self-generate. If one were to conduct a thorough analysis of the amount individuals spend on generating energy through petrol or diesel generators, it would become evident that the cost is excessively higher than the potential savings that could be achieved if the multi-year tariff order were implemented. Consequently, he noted that Nigeria’s primary objective as investors should not be solely focused on its own interests; rather, the country should strive to unlock the potential of the economy by ensuring that power is supplied to those who require it for their business endeavours.
Government is eager to provide power to the masses.
Still on his argument, the director said that our sector is filled with intelligent individuals and that the country did not lack the abundance of technocrats and innovative thinkers. However, the people must reflect on our attitudes and behaviour as a collective. He remarked that the body language of the current administration is also quite telling. When Vice President Shettima came to Agbara, an industrial hub, it was not a leisurely visit, but rather a focused business trip. His demeanour clearly conveyed this. But on the Agbara project, Originally, a timeframe of six months had been set for the completion of its first phase. However, during that visit, Vice President Shettima passionately urged the NDPHC and Millwater teams to exert all efforts possible to accomplish the project in just four months.
This shows that the federal government is highly motivated to provide power to the people. Therefore, if all stakeholders in the power supply chain come together, communicate with each other, and educate the public, they will only realize that the current costs, excessive time consumption, inefficiencies, operational and maintenance expenses, diesel costs, and self-generation expenditures can be reduced significantly. In fact, he argued that it may only require half of the current expenses to make the grid functional.
There are willing people who will pay for electricity.
To begin with, considering the population-to-power ratio reveals a substantial deficit that the country faces, there have been some rumours of untapped power reserves within the grid, resulting in stranded power. Consequently, the pressing matter at hand is determining whether individuals are ready to shoulder the costs. However, Nwoko said, “A couple of people are willing to pay, and I use my words very carefully. A good number of people are willing to pay for efficient power.”
In his explanation, the managing director said that the power generation companies produce electricity, which is then transmitted by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to the distribution companies (DisCos). Ultimately, the distribution sector is responsible for delivering electricity to the end users. Within this value chain, regulatory bodies such as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) oversee the operations and determine how the entire process works. Given the government’s commitment to the project, it is essential to initiate a discussion where any inefficiencies can be identified and resolved.
Agreements are being pushed for private sector to intervene.
Importantly, in his analysis, a lack of available funds has been noticed. As a solution, Nwoko said that agreements are being facilitated for the purchase of electricity, where the private sector and investors can intervene and provide the necessary financing to both power distribution companies and power generators. Moreover, they are actively searching for premium buyers who are willing to acquire electricity, even if it entails paying slightly above the current MYTO rates. This approach has already been applied to Agbara projects, where a select few buyers have been identified. Additionally, artificial intelligence techniques are also being used to ensure that the electricity generated is efficiently transmitted from the point of production to the end consumers.