Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Infrastructure Neglect, Poor Investment, Others Liable For Power Crisis – Experts – New Telegraph

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Experts have identified obsolete and dilapidated infrastructure and inadequate investment as among the reasons why Nigeria’s power services are epileptic.

They also identified huge debt to transmission and gas suppliers as another challenge, Speaking variously with New Telegraph, they called for the upgrade of the nation’s power backbone or infrastructure as a solution to the problem.

They added that more private sector investments are needed to improve the sector. Advisor, UK Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (UKNIAF), an international donor-funded programme, Mr. Patrick Udechukwu, advocated the development of the transmission infrastructure of Nigeria’s power sector to address the frequent grid collapses. According to him, there should be the collaboration of all stakeholders in the public and private sectors to lift the country’s ailing power system.

Udechukwu said: “We need to develop our grid or transmission infrastructure better. It is not growing at the pace we are growing, the new technologies that are being used all over the world; we are not even looking at that.

We are still looking at base technologies. For us to move quickly, introduce new technologies and scale up that sector, we just have to change the module. “Government cannot be the only person funding transmission; it will not work.

Government doesn’t even have the wherewithal to do it, the earlier the government and the power minister see the handwriting on the world, the better for them.” A former President of the Nigeria-German Business Group, Mr. Joe Femi-Dagunro, also decried the nation’s poor power infrastructure. He called for the adoption of an energy mix including solar, wind, turbine and hydro to advance the country’s power services.

Femi-Dagunro called on the government to use the savings from the subsidy removal of Band A customers to develop the country’s power backbone or infrastructure. He said: “We have a lot of dilapidated infrastructure.

Part of the subsidy gains should be used to improve not only the power infrastructure but other infrastructure. Before now, we had money or grants that were given to some companies to produce prepaid meters.

Unfortunately, some people still do not have prepaid meters. They gave a specific deadline when collection of the prepaid meter must happen after payment but now people wait for a very long time after payment.

And people are asking why?” On his part, the Chief Executive Officer, Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company Limited (MEMMCOL), Engineer Kola Balogun, identified insufficient meters for electricity users and insufficient support for indigenous meter manufacturers as some of the challenges in the sector.

While saying that indigenous meter manufacturers are formidable enough to sufficiently address the metering needs of the country and even produce for export, he called for greater support, funding and patronage from the government. Balogun said: “We want reassurance of patronising of indigenous local manufacturers.

We need more of such reassurances, not by promising but by action, to make funds available for us to be able to buy raw materials and be able to export if possible because we can take advantage of the new African doctrine of export.”

President/Chief Executive Officer, WorldStage, Mr. Segun Adeleye, decried the report that Nigeria has the lowest access to electricity globally, with about 92 million persons out of the country’s 200 million population lacking access to power. He stated that this is unacceptable. He pointed out that although Nigeria requires 30,000MW electricity generation to meet current demand, the nation currently has 23 grid-connected generating plants with a total installed capacity of 11,165.4MW, but an available capacity of 7,139.6MW.

“The $2 billion deal is already behind schedule as it was structured to take the country’s grid operational capacity from less than 5,000MW to 7,000MW by 2021; increase the capacity to 11,000MW by 2023 and achieve total operational generation and national grid capacity to 25,000MW by 2025.

“As the country is endowed with abundant renewable energy resources, the significant ones being solar energy, biomass, wind, and small and large hydro-power with potential for hydrogen fuel, geothermal and ocean energies, the exploitation and utilisation of renewable energy resources should also be a priority of the government.”

On his part, the General Manager, Origination Contract, Management and Administration, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc., Johnson Akinnawo, noted that the power sector has been largely challenged over the years due to a significant dearth of investment in the sector. Akinnawo said: “The problem with it today is the lack of significant investment that was required over the year.

We are talking about 20, 30 years where there was no commensurate investment as per Nigerian population and energy needs were bludgeoning.

That is what brought us where we are and the Federal Government identified this problem and felt the government could not do it and had to open up the sector by unburdening the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to different entities and subsequently privatised.

You have the gencos, on the generation side and discos for distribution. “So over the year, the cup is half full rather than half empty. It is a progression, investment is coming into the sector but it is not enough.”

However, the Minister of Power, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu recently assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would increase electricity megawatts from 4000 to 6000 within six months. He spoke in Abuja while meeting with the Heads of Power Agencies and other stakeholders in the industry.

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