The Nigerian Association for Energy Economics (NAEE) has, in recent times, lamented the country’s current level of generated electricity, which has been hovering over 4,000 megawatts since January describing it as one of the lowest in the world and can barely run Lagos state alone. This is coming despite having a generating capacity of 22,000 megawatts. The President of the Association, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe (SAN), made this remark at a pre-conference briefing in Abuja to commemorate the 16th NAEE/IAEE Annual International Conference.
Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), headed the conference with the theme “Energy Evolution, Transition, and Reform: Prospects for African Economies.” In his capacity as President of the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE), Prof. Jean-Michael Glachant delivered the event’s opening address. Other notable speakers included Dr. Omar Ibrahim, Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation (APPO), and Dr. Bello Gusau, Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF).
Energy should be inclusive for all residents and industries.
Prof. Omorogbe was accompanied to the ceremony by several members of the executive board, including Priscilla Ekpe, the group’s vice president; Ere Yalla, the group’s secretary; Dr. Margaret Hilili, the group’s treasurer; and others. She claimed that the current electricity situation is far more awful than it was in the past. This is because the country as a whole has not approached challenges systematically. When discussing energy in any nation, it should be inclusive for all residents and industries. But that is not the case in Nigeria, where people essentially view electricity as an opulent commodity and something provided to the city dwellers.
She further explained that everyone in Nigeria, unlike the current situation, should have access to electricity rather than opting for alternative sources like generators. This is in contrast to the practice in other countries, where backup power is made available in the event of a blackout. To reduce the frequency of power outages, she asserted that Nigeria should invest more in upgrading its grid infrastructure, building mini-grids, and as well exploring other standalone isolated renewable solutions.
More than 20,000 MW generation capacity will be required.
It is even challenging to have periodic blackouts when dealing with such an insignificantly limited supply of electricity, she said. Also, it’s underestimating to expect 20,000 MW of electrical capacity in a few short years from a government that claims it would boost electricity generation. Prof. Omorogbe said if Nigeria is serious about providing power to its growing industrial sector, it will require more than 20,000 MW of electricity generation capacity. To begin with, Nigeria has always underestimated how much power we actually require, she added.
In addition, Prof. Omorogbe claimed that providing widespread access to electricity for the people has never been a priority in Nigeria’s development agenda. The country’s population of almost 200 million people outweighs the amount of electricity it produces. Power generation has been over 4,000MW for months, based on a review of randomly selected figures from the grid performance data, and the country has not yet recorded a catastrophic grid collapse this year, when compared to 2022.
Electricity tariffs continue to increase amidst all this.
At this point, it appears that Nigerians have become inured to the level of the generated and distributed electricity supply and are no more shocked. Numerous pledges and attempts from successive governments were to no avail and the electricity situation has not improved over the years. Most households and companies in the country go without power for up to 10 hours a day. Amidst all this electricity tariffs continue to increase causing concerns and burdens millions of Nigerians.