The Association of Nigeria Energy Distributors (ANED) has said that Nigeria needs to generate about 30,000MW to guarantee a stable supply of electricity in the country. The Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, ANED, Mr. Sunday Oduntan revealed this on August 9th, 2022 in Lagos at a workshop organized by ANED in collaboration with the Macarthur Foundation Project. The theme of the workshop was: “Building Consumer Awareness and Strengthening the Customer Service Capacity of Electricity Distribution Companies.’’
Oduntan said that Nigeria has a population of more than 215 million people and the country has 32 million households. He said that the 5,000MW currently being generated was grossly inadequate to meet the energy needs of the nation. He said, “If Nigeria can generate 30,000MW today, we will have electricity, seven days a week in Nigeria. South Africa has a population of 67 million people and is generating 46,000MW which is more than enough for the country.”
GenCos complain of vandalism as entities seek alternative power source.
A few months ago, power generating companies (known as GenCos) revealed that acts of vandalism have cost many businesses with losses of over 50 million Naira. The companies said that these acts are in form of stolen cables, damaged transformers, and other network infrastructure sabotage. This revelation is coming months after the national grid has shut down multiple times this year alone, plunging the nation into darkness. Also, earlier this year, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) confirmed that multiple towers were vandalized. This has further contributed to the electricity challenge.
Of course, concerned citizens and stakeholders are divided on the solution to the electricity issue that the nation is facing. While some have opined that Nigeria needs to adopt a decentralized national grid system as it is used in the United States, others have voted in favor of the centralized grid system, which Nigeria adopted from Britain. However, they say that the government needs to prevent acts of sabotage and vandalism by putting additional security measures at the transmission lines. Meanwhile, during the last few months, a trio of the Federal University Oye Ekiti (FUOYE), the Ekiti State University (EKSU), and the Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti, decided to explore alternative power sources instead of relying on the unreliable national grid. The three institutions raised issues of high power bills and non-corresponding power supply.
Oduntan advocates for a decentralized grid system.
He said only 28 power plants in Nigeria were currently operational, 25 of which are powered by gas while three were hydropower stations. Oduntan said the thermal (gas-powered plants) were faced with challenges such as gas constraints and inadequate capacity utilization to the detriment of the country. The head of ANED also called for the decentralization of the national grid to ensure improved transmission and distribution. He said, “Even the power being generated cannot be effectively transmitted due to reliance on a single grid system.”
“We have a National Grid still owned by the Federal Government against what was agreed on during the power sector privatization process,” he continued. “There is the need to decentralize the grid. That is what we should have done with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). The government needs to privatize the company to enable better transmission of the power being generated.” He also urged distribution companies (DisCos) to deploy modern technologies to improve their services to customers.
Oduntan advised customers to join the campaign against energy theft.
As the spokesperson for DisCos, Oduntan maintained that the companies could only distribute the volume of power allocated to them by the TCN to their customers. Hence, the lack of or inadequate power supply does not lie with them. Even the TCN can only transmit via a transmission line that has not been vandalized or sabotaged. He advised customers to join the campaign against energy theft and by-passing of prepaid meters by some unscrupulous persons which were causing revenue losses for the electricity sector.