This Day (Lagos)

9 April 2014

Nigeria: Nnaji, Stakeholders Decry Poor State of Power Infrastructure

Photo: Vanguard
Electricity in Nigeria.

A former Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji and some of the new owners of the distribution companies, Tuesday, declared that Nigeria's power generating facilities are obsolete and unreliable. They however, suggested embedded generation as short-term solution to the current energy challenges in the country.

Speaking at the seventh Lagos Economic Summit (Ehingbeti 2014), Nnaji disclosed that there was a wide gap between electricity supply and demand, while the transmission infrastructure are weak and inadequate. He further stated that the distribution network was overloaded, while the rate of technical and commercial losses are very high.

Nnaji suggested an embedded generation using the ring-fencing method whereby areas are divided into economic clusters, as the short-term solution for the power deficit in the country. He said Lagos had all the facilities to deliver stable power, adding however, that it has to assert its influence by partnering with the distribution companies to plan for efficient and effective distribution of power within Lagos.

Also speaking, the Chairman of West Power and Gas, owner of the Eko Distribution Company, Mr. Charles Momoh, emphasised the need for the revamping of the power infrastructure, saying that the country was still using power infrastrusture that it started using since 1896.

He further blamed the epileptic power situation across the country on the non-availability of gas and the reduction of power supply to the distribution companies.

Specifically, he noted that the total gas available for Lagos State cannot power more than 500 mega watts of electricity, while noting that it was currently receiving less than 200 mega watts, down from the 400 mega watts it was promised when it took over the assets.

Momoh further blamed the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), for the "blinking" power situation. "The TCN introduced frequency relays to protect their equipment, which is at the expense of consumers' appliances, because this relay is responsible for the two minutes on and off power situation in Lagos," he said. He noted that the Eko Distribution Company currently had the capacity to deliver 700 mega watts of electricity, but it was currently receiving only about 240 mega watts.

He, however, noted that the Eko Distribution Company had commenced the process of increasing power supply by about 500 mega watts, noting that it is talking to 45 companies interested in embedded generation and two other companies for captive power.

On his own part, the Managing Director, Sahara Power, owner of the Ikeja Distribution Company, Mr. Kola Adesina, also noted that the unavailability of gas and a non-cost reflective tariff structure and hampering the effective delivery of power to consumers.

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