Power Headache: Will it Ever Get the Right Pill? (II)

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“Part of our problem is inadequate policy in place to back up regulations. Policy forms the bedrock upon which regulation and orders are based and their absence portends unsustainable plans and programmes”, Ogaji noted.

She also stated that load allocation from the national grid to the 11 Discos on specific percentage is counter-productive and must be revisited, because that is the reason some of the DisCos reject the loads and some ask for more.

Power purchase, to her, should be based on a willing seller, willing buyer basis because the DisCos have different levels of infrastructure integrity and revenue collection strength.

Oduntan, who described pipeline vandalism as economic sabotage, noted that energy theft will continue to hamper the ability of the operators to provide electricity and will continue to hamper small scale and cottage industries.

To enable that such businesses thrive, the government has to fight all forms of energy theft and sabotage to provide stable electricity. He called for the payment of all outstanding debts by all categories of customers and financial agreements signed by the government with power sector investors to improve the sector’s liquidity.

Continuous and sustained investment in transmission infrastructures and access to forex by operators in the power sector is also key, if power output must improve, he added.

Energy mix

The power supply deficit is huge with about 44 per cent of the population off the national grid. Therefore, for the Energy Institute, Nigeria requires a combination of on-grid and off-grid sources of energy to meet the energy needs of its citizens.

The Institute’s Chairman, Mr. Osten Olorunsola, who was a former Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), said the country will overcome its power problems with the exploitation of the energy sources at its disposal.

According to him, energy mix remained the most viable solution to electricity problems since the country has tried conventional method of generating electricity without much success.

The Federal Government, he noted, should leverage energy sources such as coal, solar, gas, hydro, biomass and others to lift the power sector growth and sustainability.

Olorunsohal “Energy mix is the way out of the problem Nigeria has found itself in. We have no choice than to use a combination of different sources of energy to generate the required electricity. The government needs to marry both the renewable energy and traditional energy sources together to attain the goal of providing stable electricity for Nigerians.

“While solar and wind are used to generate renewable energy, gas and hydro are used to provide the traditional energy. Other countries have adopted this strategy, and Nigeria should not be an exception.

“Another problem is that we have a lot of skills gap, so we have to help brush up and sharpen the capabilities of all our engineers and other energy related professionals. Northern part of Nigeria is blessed with solar while the eastern part has huge coal and gas reserves, but the failure of the government to make use of different sources of energy have not augured well for the country.”

Beyond rhetoric

In the last two years, the Federal Government has been  announcing the recovery of transmission facilities seized by the Nigerian Customs Service a couple of years ago. In 2014, the former Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo took delivery of some of the seized 218 containers of equipment imported by the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) 11 years ago.

In November last year, the Power, Works & Housing Minister Mr. Babatunde Fashola also received some containers. But these have not translated to significant improvement in transmission network.

At the flag-off of the release of the seized containers at the Lagos and Onne Ports, Prof. Nebo said the equipment would improve power supply significantly. Represented by the former TCN Managing Director, Mr. Tambuwa Atiku, Fashola said the TCN took delivery of 77 containers of electricity equipment, out of the 218 containers seized by Customs.

The TCN took delivery of all the stranded 218 containers of power equipment to complement the government’s effort in providing stable power supply in the country, Tambuwa said on behalf of the minister at DUNCAN Terminal in Lagos, where some of the containers were collected.

The minister, who once said that fixing the country’s power problem was not a rocket science, admitted that “electricity is not cheap commodity and should attract appropriate tariff.”

He urged the National Assembly to enact laws that would give stiffer punishment to those tampering with power installations, and vandalism of pipelines.

According to him, more than 3,000Mw of power had been decommissioned as a result of vandalism, urging the lawmakers to give priority to the power bills pending before the National Assembly.

“There should be amendment of laws to ensure that there are stiffer punishments meted out to those who tamper with power facilities”, the minister said.

Source: TheNation

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