Power generating and distribution companies will be probed by the Nigerian Senate over unstable power supply that has become the order of the day in the country. The Senate Committee on Power will investigate the activities of the electricity companies in a bid to address their failure which is forcing Nigerian companies to move to Ghana.
Members of the Senate said the generating companies were crippled by several factors that would be unravelled by the Committee on Power. The decision to probe the electricity supply in Nigeria was raised by the Senator representing Enugu North, Chukwuka Utazi.
The power sector in Nigeria was privatised in 2013 and the supply of the electricity was divided into several categories: six generation companies; 12 distribution companies covering all 36 Nigerian states, and a national power transmission company. This was done to improve electricity in the country, however, the situation has remained the same.
Utazi said the erratic power supply is unfavourable to the development of Nigeria. He said Nigeria can set achievable target of 100,000 Megawatts in the next 10 years by a mixture of energy sources such as natural gas, hydro, coal, wind and renewable energy.
“The northern part of the country with vast expanse of land can tap into large solar farms while the southern parts of the country with significant reserves of natural gas and cola can generate power from same.”
He added that “Both the north and South have large water bodies that can still be dammed for hydro,” The Nation reported.
Senate outlines DisCos’ problems: Despite the fact that most components of the power sector has been privatised, Utazi said the Distribution Companies are not financially capable. According to him, the problem doesn’t lie only with generation and transmission because the Distribution Companies don’t have the technical capacity and capital needed to acquire the power required by GenCos to deliver to the grid.
The past governments were also faulted by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who berated them for not embracing new ideas that could have improved electricity supply in Nigeria.
Are companies relocating to Ghana? The unstable power supply in Nigeria is forcing companies to move to Ghana, Senator Jibrin Barau said. He said the government should invite experts that would review the power sector in order to achieve the target.
“We need to bring experts together to look at the power sector as a whole in a bid to realising these targets. Our companies are now being moved to Ghana, this is because of power.
“The Committee on Power should get everybody together. Government cannot do it alone. Let’s bring everybody together so we can find a lasting solution to this problem,” Barau stressed.
Why this matters: Power is one of the major problems small, medium and large corporations face in Nigeria. It is a major constraint on ease of doing business in Nigeria with about $12 billion spent annually by businesses and individuals on generators.
Despite the privatisation, every business continues to provide electricity themselves mostly with petrol and diesel generators, and now renewable energy. Nairametrics had also reported that President Muhammadu Buhari’s office was expected to spend N46 million on fuelling generators this year (2019).