Expectations of stable power supply in the country may remain an illusion until major challenges in the sector’s value chain, including regulation, are adequately tackled.
This was the position of industry experts, who gathered in Lagos at the 2016 edition of Power Nigeria, a yearly exhibition organised by Informa Exhibitions.
According to the experts, it would take years to deliver on the promises of stable power supply in the country.
While Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola expressed hope that the sector remains a market that no rational investor could ignore, stakeholders in distribution and generation lamented that key challenges have forced their operations to a limit.
Fashola said: “Now is the time to invest. We must be focused and cautious, as the sector is very sensitive. There is no need for just profiteers and inflammatory talk. The grid is strong and we are looking at expansion in the future.”
He said this administration remains committed and focused on improving collective power experience and the need to act expeditiously to stimulate the economy back to growth and inclusion.
He added that the transition is only less than three years on and “we must manage our expectations for results within the context of the unfruitful power experience of 63 years.”
The minister said the approach starts from getting incremental power from all sources; solar, coal, hydro, gas, biomass, nuclear, wind and whatever is possible.
Our responsibility as the government is therefore to provide an environment that enables the private sector to thrive, deepen its investment and contribute to our stock of incremental power, he added.
The Deputy Managing Director, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, John Ayodele, urged Nigerians to get used to the fact that the industry is highly regulated and players could operate as stipulated by the framework.
He disclosed that though stakeholders are eager to address challenges of estimated billing, the sector lacks the structure to meter all users immediately.
He said his company, which is in charge of Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Kwara and parts of Niger, Ekiti and Kogi states is working hard to address related challenges across the state.
He, however, said: “We need to be embedded generation in some area. Besides, there are areas where the people deliberately vandalise power infrastructure and others don’t even have the capacity to pay bills that exceed a certain amount of money.”
For the Managing Director, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Oladele Amoda, most users are not yet metered, but the operators are working on a five-year plan, adding that “nothing can change overnight.”
The Board Chairman, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar, explained that the company is working with the World Bank to address the challenges facing the firm.