Jeremy Gaines, Coordinator, Nigerian-German Energy Partnership, disclosed in a report that Nigeria loses about 50 percent of its generation, transmission, and distribution due to ageing infrastructure. He said: “No sector in the world can operate with a loss rate of nearly 50 per cent. Were these losses only to be halved, there would be substantially more revenue for the sector which could translate into investments and less pressure on government to subsidize the inefficiencies.”

He noted that overtime, the industry has suffered from lack of investment in the power sector and massive losses from generation output. Consequently, Nigeria needs to experience a robust development in the power sector by tackling its ageing infrastructure and increasing generation capacity to complement the great demand from the rising population. His words: “First, we have witnessed a massive shortfall of investment in power plants over the last 30 years, meaning that population growth, and with it the need for electricity has far outpaced supply. Second, many existing gas-fired and hydro power plants are in part very old and therefore nearing the end of their service lives. And finally, there are massive system losses.” Highlighting the current cause of unstable power generation resulting from generating losses in the country, he said: “The current cause of unstable power is the sum of these losses, 11 per cent from generation, 14 per cent from transmission, and 22 per cent from distribution…”

On how Nigeria can tackle the power challenges, he said: “The federal government could approve financing to tackle the transmission losses and monitor implementation by Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) closely. Likewise, it could introduce meaningful fast sanctions to thwart the theft of electricity and punish defaults on payment of electricity bills, these realities everyone knows, but no one acts to stop them”. He maintained that it is important for the public to know that the existing power plant fleet are old and will never generate anywhere near full capacity, meaning many new power plants are required. He called on the new administration to publicly support the Ministry of Power in its drive to ensure the spread of large-scale solar in the North; saying only if power plants are built in the North, and renewable power plants can be built quickly, will electricity come to the North on any scale at all. “At the same time it is critical that the new administration provides sovereign guarantees to anchor private investments in new power plants, be they driven by thermal feed stocks or renewable energy.

The government’s efforts to support small-scale solar systems for rural areas are very laudable but will not solve the main problem: electricity for the country’s many conurbations,” he said.

Johnson Alabi
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