Experts in the power sector have identified avoidable challenges that had continued to frustrate government’s effort at achieving steady electricity supply in Nigeria.
The experts disclosed this as panelists at the 2nd West Africa Power Summit (WAPS) in Nigeria on Wednesday, said the challenges identified were responsible for the current poor electricity distribution.
The theme of the one-day summit was “Developing Sustainable Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Networks for West Africa’’.
Group Leader, Generation of Sahara Power Group, Mr Michael Uzoigwe said that privatisation of Nigeria’s electricity distribution was affected with many challenges.
He also said that the prevailing economic situation in Nigeria was making it difficult for consumers to pay their electricity, thereby frustrating operations of the distribution companies.
In his words, “Nigerians should know that if they must use electricity, they must be prepared to pay for it. We really have to do a lot of re-orientation of Nigerians for them to know that electricity has become commercialised.’’
Uzoigwe listed other challenges to include high foreign exchange rate, low and non-reflective tariff, high incidence of metre bypass, low industrial capacity and shutting of industries.
He also noted that there were a lot of sharp practices in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.
Former Chairperson of ECOWAS Regional Regulatory Authority (ERRA), Mrs Ifey Ikeonu, noted that there was a great deal of electricity wastage in Nigeria.
According to her, “We still have electrical appliances that are not energy efficient. We therefore, need to make consumers aware of all these. There is also the need for our discussion to do a lot more awareness.’’
Ikeonu also said that the continuous stealing of electricity in Nigeria was going to be a disincentive to many solution companies.
An official of Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Mr Nosa Igbinedion, said that there was inadequate generation of electricity.
He said that it was imperative for government at all levels to intensify their sanctions against electricity theft in communities.
A council member of Fossil Fuel Foundation of Africa, South Africa, Dr Samson Bada, recommended that Nigerians should begin to embrace the use of coal as an alternative source of electricity supply.