‘Why Access to Power Remains Poor’

electricity-POWER (2)

Nigerians are not getting enough electricity because of the few investors in the sector, Vice President, Green Electric, a France-based Renewable Energy firm, Dr Albert Okorogu, has said.

In a telephone interview, he listed other reasons as low level of confidence by investors in the sector, huge interest rates imposed by banks on loans and frictions between the investors and the community, where the project will be sited.

He said: “Many power projects are abandoned across the country because there is no money to finance them.The banks are not ready to provide loans to investors in the sector. Often times, banks made investors to repay the loans at double-digit rates of between 25 and 28 per cent, and short tenor. Cases abound where the Chief Executive officers (CEOs) of banks prefer to lend to bigger investors, and not smaller ones who are in the sector.

He said generation, transmission and distribution of electricity have suffered neglect in recent times, adding that no government could provide electricity for its people once there are problems in the three areas.

He said the grid needs repair to provide power to the 11 electricity distribution companies (DisCos) for supply to their customers.

He urged the government to invest in renewable energies, such as solar, coal and wind to reduce burdens on the grid, arguing that renewable energy is key to the growth of the sector.

“Access to power by people living in the urban and rural areas in Nigeria is very low. In the rural areas, access to power is very bad.The rural dwellers neither enjoy power from the grid nor electricity from solar and other forms of renewable energies. This is the reason behind poor living conditions of people in the rural areas,” he said.

Okorogu said many investors would have invested in 100 kilowatts, 200 kilowatts and 300 kilowatts of electricity in rural areas, if they have the money.

He said when a company either through solar or wind generates, for instance 100 kilowatts of electricity in rural areas, such firm has helped in boosting the socio-economic activities of the people.

He urged the Federal Government to provide an enabling environment for investors in both grid and off-grid electricity generation, noting that only holistic and well implemented policies would revive the nation’s power sector.

Okorogu, also a former Executive Director, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) Limited that oversees National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP), said besides communal clashes, stable power would not be realistic if the government and stakeholders fail to develop the sector well.

The sector generates about 3,500 megawatts of electricity, which implies that Nigeria has a long way to go to meet its targets of 20,000 megawatts of electricity by 2020.

Source: The Nation

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