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The need to boost Nigeria’s power supply

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By Usman Oladimeji

8 out of 10 Nigerians do not have access to 10 hours of power supply daily.

Even as we evolve into the digital era, where electricity is required to power devices and gadgets largely utilized in the house, workplace, company, and commercial operations, the quality of electricity in Nigeria remains poor. As the need for power grows, more and more people are turning to alternative energy sources like solar panels and backup generators. The issue persists with over 20 power-generating units linked to the national grid and capable of producing 11,165.4 MW of energy. This is mainly because the need for consistent maintenance and repairs, frequent breakdowns, malfunctions, and leaks has hampered most power-generating units.

Despite pledges made by successive administrations, one issue that has yet to be addressed is whether the nation would have a stable power supply. According to statistics, 8 out of 10 Nigerians do not have access to a power supply that lasts for 10 hours daily. In practical terms, this implies that most homes and businesses will be without power for as long as 10 to 16 hours daily. As a consequence, it is becoming more expensive for businesses to get access to energy from the country’s producing facilities, making it more challenging for them to operate there. In addition, the market price of items has grown due to the shortage of diesel and the high cost of gasoline.

25,000MV target 2025 is below the international standard.

Meanwhile, the general public has decried the privatization of electricity supplies, alleging that it has aggravated the problem over time. The country’s electricity production peaked at 4,594.6MW in November 2022, despite having a producing capacity of 22,000MW. With over 200 million people living in the nation, the power produced is inadequate. According to the most recent data from the Nigeria Bulk Energy Trading Plc (NBET), electricity customers in the country paid N258.91 billion for electricity in the first seven months of 2022, despite the multiple blackouts caused by the failure of the national grid.

Recall that in 2019, the government inked an agreement with Siemens AG to boost power production to 25,000MW in six years. There will be a gradual growth from the existing 7,000 MW to 11,000 MW in 2023 and 25,000 MW in 2025. It’s worth noting that the 25,000MW target established for 2025 is well below the international standard of 1,000MW per one million people. That means that Nigeria has to create at least 200,000MW so that its over 200 million people may have improved access to power if it is to reach the benchmark.

Crucial measures are needed to achieve a 24-hour power supply.

Egypt, which has one of the highest rates of access to power in Africa, similarly collaborated to improve its situation through huge investment. It struck a $4.4 billion contract with Siemens AG in 2015 to build three power plants with a combined capacity of 14,400 megawatts in two years. However, in order to achieve a 24-hour power supply in Nigeria, crucial measures, such as electrical clustering, must be implemented. A report claims that areas with almost identical consumption rates and under an agreement may strike a bargain for their own electricity.

The research claims that this may be accomplished at an initial N95/kWh through the use of a combination of 60% grid supply and 40% generators managed by an independent operator. Some variables, such as but not limited to the number of electronic devices in a home, the quantity of power used from the national grid, and the price of gasoline, might cause the cost to grow as indicated. There is a possibility that the monthly cost might be N100,000 to N400,000. This may cause skepticism about Nigerians’ dedication and desire to comply with the huge payments.

Gov’t needs to connect btw 500,000 and 800,000 homes to energy sources.

While hydro and gas-fired thermal power plants account for the vast majority of Nigeria’s electricity generation, the government is encouraged to diversify its power portfolio in order to better meet the needs of its population. The World Bank had projected that between the last six months and 2030, the government would need to connect between 500,000 and 800,000 additional homes to energy sources annually to be able to meet its objectives of universal access to electricity for its population. Meanwhile, the present government has promised Nigerians a dramatic improvement in the electricity sector very soon as it executes its Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) to understand the root of the past blunders.

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