Power Sector Collapse Warning – Opinion – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News


The frequent collapse of the country’s national electricity supply network has become a recurring nightmare. Nigerians are now forced to regard these common challenges in the power sector as the “new normal”.

Many apparently resigned to fate or made alternative arrangements as much as they could. It can be recalled that providing steady power supply to the Nigerian consumer was one of the election promises made by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party when soliciting votes ahead of the 2015 general election. power sector is another area of ​​woeful failure for the Muhammadu Buhari administration. Hopes have been raised and disappointed in this regard.

As things stand, many stakeholders have warned that unless something drastic is done to salvage the dire situation, the electricity sector faces an imminent collapse. The facts on the ground are pretty obvious.

Available data indicates that there are 23 power plants with a capacity of 11,165 megawatts connected to the national grid. These are managed by generation companies (Gencos), independent power producers and the Niger Delta Holding Company, only two of which are hydropower plants, namely the Jebba and Shiroro plants. Currently, all plants have some form of challenge or the other.

The two hydroelectric plants currently have limited or no generation capacity due to poor water management. For the remaining 21 plants, the problems encountered are innumerable.

Gasoline engines generate lower than expected emissions due to a lack of gas, technical faults or a form of seemingly endless maintenance, among other things. These include factories in Omotosho, Olorunsogo, Omoku, Delta, Afam, Ihovbor, Sapele, Odukpani, Okpai, Geregu, Alaoji and Egbin.

The Egbin power station, which is the country’s largest power station at 514 megawatts and the largest electricity supplier in the national grid, is currently off-grid due to permanent outages and technical problems.

It is clear that the Buhari administration has lost control over the management of power supply to the Nigerian people. The habitual passing of the ball from the administration to the previous administration no longer amuses the generality of Nigerians. If the privatization program undertaken by the Jonathan administration is flawed, the Buhari government has had more than seven years in power to correct anything it deems improper. What Nigerian need is the improvement of the efficient functioning of the sector and not a blame game or endless rhetoric? This situation in the electricity sector is a clear case of the incompetence of the current government. Hence the recent statement by the Ministry of Energy apologizing to the Nigerian public and stating that the partial shutdown of the Oben gas plant for the repair of critical gas processing equipment was responsible for the recent drop in generated electricity is not enough.

The problems of the electricity sector cannot be separated from developments in the macroeconomy. Once the economic fundamentals of the country are settled, the electricity sector would experience some form of relief. Firstly, the assertion by some stakeholders that the major challenge affecting the sector is the acute shortage of foreign exchange for end users in the economy cannot be ignored.

According to them, almost all the materials in the sector are purchased in foreign currency, including the costs of maintaining the facilities. As long as the current challenges in the foreign exchange market persist, the power sector may not get the desired respite. Second, the need to address the alleged challenges associated with the privatization of the sector under the last government cannot be overstated. Instead of the government continuing to lament over the obstacles to solving the sector’s problems, it must get to work and solve them in order to bring the desired relief to the sector. Whether they are of a legal nature or related to the financial capacity of the new owners of the power plants or even operational, they must be tackled head-on. This should also include transmission and distribution issues. For example, distribution companies operate as if they were government agencies. Businesses in the sector should operate like private companies that need public patronage for their survival. These companies, rather than maintaining infrastructure, still depend on the government to do so.

The effects of persistent power outages on the economy are enormous. Manufacturing companies are the hardest hit as it has increased their cost of production and fueled inflation by raising the ex-factory prices of their products. This is due to the fact that many of these industrial companies are dependent on diesel for their internal power generation, a situation which has worsened with the current escalation in the price of diesel. Many companies have consequently reduced the size of their workforce, thus increasing the wave of job losses and unemployment in the country. Some companies have even closed shop. This is not how the Nigerian economy can grow.

The government should work hard to avoid this imminent collapse of the electricity sector. The Buhari administration appears to have added no value to the growth of the sector since coming to power in 2015. In trying to chart the way forward, efforts should be made to address the exchange rate issue, diversify the sources of energy (wind, solar and others) and, in the long term, decentralize the production and distribution of electricity by adopting a true federalism which will allow the States to venture into the sector. Also, the privatization program should be reviewed, particularly as it affects production and distribution companies. Unless the problems in the electricity sector are resolved, the quest to grow the Nigerian economy and improve the standard of living of the people would simply prove to be a mirage.

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