Franklin Ajaegbu, Program Manager, Energy Efficiency - Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc (PHED), in this interview with Paula Eseghene, says energy efficiency is indisputably the most cost-effective solution to close the huge gap between its demand and supply in Nigeria.
Let's start with some background on PHED and the work that you do there.
Power distribution companies in Nigeria are currently facing low grid-energy supply from TCN and cannot meet their customers demand, leading to a huge gap between demand and supply of power. In addition to the high aggregate technical commercial and collection (ATC&C) losses in their monthly operations, these losses are mostly contributed by non-maximum demand customers who constitute about 90% of customers'population.
Our observation during customer mapping and engagement within PHED's network area shows that customers in these areas are mostly low-income earners who use inefficient lighting and appliances and as a result, have high bills which they find difficult, unwilling or cannot afford to pay. In response to these challenges, PHED has pioneered and developed energy efficiency programme, as a solution, to address the current business concerns of energy deficiencies, loss reduction and improvement in revenue collections, as well as enhancement in service delivery to their customers in Nigeria.
Any exciting projects that you are currently involved in that you can share?
Listed below are the projects we are presently executing within PHED, in addition to others under development:
- School-to-school energy efficiency enlightenment project in the four states: in partnership with the Rivers State Ministry of Power, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Information and Universal Basic Education Board.
- Training of volunteers at the NYSC orientation camps in the four states, as energy efficiency ambassadors: train-the-trainer model.
- Efficient energy management training for maximum demand (MD) customers: to assist commercial and industrial customers reduce their business operational cost.
- Energy-saving bulb exchange pilot project in four high-loss communities: involves exchanging traditional incandescent bulbs with highly efficient LED lamps in low-income communities within PHED's network.
What in your view are the main challenges in the power sector in Nigeria right now?
The major challenges facing the power sector in Nigeria are:
- High aggregate technical commercial and collection (ATC&C) losses in the industry; mostly due to energy theft and non-payment of billed amount by the end-users.
- Energy deficiencies as a result of low energy supply from TCN to the power distribution companies, hence, huge gap between power demand and supply.
- Non-cost reflective tariff regime; which has denied the stakeholders ROI and obstructed inflow of much-needed investments into the industry.
And with regards to energy efficiency in particular?
Energy deficiency negatively impacts on the economy, which in returns, affect the power sector through the end users inability to pay for energy consumed; leading to high ATC& losses. Hence, energy efficiency is indisputably the most cost-effective solution to close the huge gap between energy demand and supply in Nigeria, as well as, a strategy to make power more affordable for the customers, reduce ATC&C losses and improve revenue collection by the distribution companies.
What is your vision for the industry?
Simply, to have efficient, affordable and optimal energy supply industry in the nearest future.
At Future Energy Nigeria, you are part of the programme. Can you give us a preview of what your message will be at the event?
My message will focus on the win-win strategy of energy efficiency for all stakeholders. The three learning objectives the audience will take home are:
- Learn how to efficiently utilize scarce energy resources and reduce their energy cost by 30% in their homes and offices.
- Learn how to apply energy efficiency measures as a cost-effective solution to energy deficiencies.
- Learn how electricity distribution companies can reduce their ATC&C losses and improve revenue collection by implementing energy efficiency programme.
Anything you would like to add?
Energy efficiency is simply a win-win strategy for both energy suppliers and end users.