For citizens across the nation to have access to reliable electricity supplies in their homes, the federal government has requested from the governors of the states that they take an active and methodical approach to the problem. Through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), the government pointed out that electricity is a consistent good, and it provided an explanation of how the sub-nationals should work with private firms and financiers in the power sectors to ensure that people in their areas have access to reliable electricity.
Michael Oluwagbemi, a representative for the South West on the REA board, told reporters in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, recently that governors, particularly in the South West, could boost their states’ economies by making an investment in the power sector rather than increasing spending on ephemeral projects. President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Oluwagbemi to the board in January 2022, and he has since said that the agency has made remarkable progress towards its goals of expanding access to electricity in rural areas and promoting renewable energy in Nigeria.
States’ governments should take responsibility by building a mini-grid.
The REA official reiterated that state governments have the privilege to develop mini-grid power for their citizens while pointing out ways that sub-nationals could improve power supply range and availability. Governors should partner power development companies with private firms. The sub-national government should use this opportunity to enhance power access for the people, just like many northern states. It’s time for state governors to stop blaming the federal government, which only has a 15% stake in the power sector, and start taking charge. Most of the problems the country is facing with the power grid could be solved if only state governors had the political will to do so.
Furthermore, the southwestern state should make sure that the grid is extended to the unconnected areas. Utilize technology to expand access to electricity, particularly through alternative sources to the national grid. Oluwagbemi, speaking about the agency’s interventions over the past year, highlighted the fact that, among other things, the REA has collaborated with private firms in the power industry to set up thousands of solar-powered street lights throughout several states of the country, such as Ekiti state.
This agency is burdened with making energy accessible to people.
Oluwagbemi says that REA’s main goal is to make sure that everyone, especially in rural areas, has access to electricity. This is because their task is not to connect people to the power system but to bring electricity to people’s homes. As far as he knows, REA recommitted itself to this course in 2022, and he’s proud to say that it has delivered. This may have been because the law said they had to do more to help rural areas get access to energy while also carrying out the renewable energy mandate. Due to these initiatives, the Southwest, which he represents, has benefited greatly, with about 100 MW of power system impact projects and 160 km of streetlights.
In the state of Ekiti, they have won a number of big projects, such as installing solar street lights in Ikole Ekiti, Igede Ekiti, Odo Oro Ekiti, Ado Ekiti and Ikere Ekiti. As part of the FGN’s Poverty Eradication Intervention program, work is being done on stand-alone residence systems for both commercial and residential users. A priority is to make sure they add the grid to the places that don’t already have it. To also use technology to help more people get electricity, especially off-grid systems that don’t have to be connected to the national grid.
Companies should provide the necessary tools for measuring power usage.
According to Oluwagbemi, who criticized the estimated billing system used by the electricity distribution companies, it is illegal to refuse to provide prepaid meters to various homes across the nation. People can’t be billed with that system because it’s a guess. He thinks these people should only be in the business of distributing electricity if they can give a meter to quantify how much power is being used. This is something that REA disagrees with. He reckons the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) should stop it. Their job is to sell power, and if they can’t offer the necessary tools for customers to gauge what they’re buying, then all they’re doing is looting them.
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