In the past, the power sector faced certain challenges that were thought to be caused by state-controlled ownership. However, even after the privatization of the sector, we still experience blackouts and unstable electricity supply (especially with Band C, D, and E).
So far, Nigeria faces a slow growth with electricity generation which has had an impact on our economic growth as a whole.
This article will discuss some of the challenges causing this slow growth and possible ways we could improve it.
1. Low gas supply
Nigeria’s low gas supply has been a primary setback to effective power generation.
In 2020, the transmission company of Nigeria (TCN), confirmed that the erratic nature of electricity is due to the insufficient gas supply.
25 out of the 28 electricity generating companies in the country currently run on gas-fired plants. And because of this, the country is only generating less than 5,500 megawatts of electricity.
This means we’re producing barely enough to go round.
2. Poor maintenance of existing electrical facilities
When it comes to maintaining existing facilities and plants, it usually isn’t as instantaneous as it should be. In fact, there are obsolete machinery that barely has enough spare parts in the market today.
Perhaps if we maintained them a lot better, power outages will significantly reduce and we’d get more equipment to aid easy electricity generation.
3. Electricity vandalism
Due to how unequal societal class is in Nigeria, paying for electricity is not exactly the norm.
Vandals tend to illegally connect electricity as a means to bypass some or all electrical load. Asides from this, power equipment also get stolen. This is when wires, cables, and the likes are vandalized for profit.
What this causes is an inaccurate electricity track record. Thereby leading to inconclusive calculations, extra electrical debt, and unbalanced supply across bands.
4. Low collection rates
Nerc regulates electricity in Nigeria and they are out to ensure that the cost of electricity is proportional to its usage. Hence, the introduction of a cost-reflective tariff. Without this, there will be an unfair gap in the cost of electricity and users won’t be interested in paying up.
Over the last decade, this has been an issue that has caused the federal government to step in through subsidized payments. However, that in itself isn’t a sustainable solution. This is why we have to adopt the cost-reflective tariff.
Today, although it's been adopted, not all communities can boast of a prepaid meter. The use of the estimated billing system poses a disservice to the tariff system as there’ll be issues with billing and collection.
Thankfully, the government has ordered a mass metering system across the nation to help curb this.
5. Lack of transparency
In the power sector, when it comes to production and distribution, the government seems to prefer centralized distribution systems where everything seems to come from the headquarters or major zones before any consideration to other areas.
This tendency is a serious barrier to the development of new energies for power generation, which are usually at scattered locations and are produced on a relatively small scale.
Perhaps it would help if matters like this were more public, giving room for technical experts to share their insights.
The bottom line
While the list is exhaustive, these are the five major challenges we have when it comes to effectively producing and distributing electricity in Nigeria.
As citizens, we also have a constitutional duty to make this country work. This is why you should report any case of electrical theft around you. You can do this by visiting the nearest distribution office. With this, we can create a balanced and more effective electricity allocation system.