Ensuring reliable, sustainable power supply under Tinubu’s administration

The power sector has been struggling with limited distribution networks, limited transmission line capacity, a huge metering gap and a fall in gas supply.

…Sector’s long challenge

The country’s power problem did not start today; the power sector under previous administrations had a lot of challenges ranging from transmission to generation and distribution.

The sector is also suffering from low generating capacity, poor system maintenance, and vandalism of electricity installations

In spite of the privatisation of the power sector, which produced six generation companies and 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos), much improvement had not been achieved.

With President Bola Tinubu taking over power on May 29, 2023 and with his “Renewed Hope Agenda” there was the belief that the power situation would change.

However, experts are of the opinion that if proper reforms are put in place, the sector will be able to achieve stable and reliable power supply.

The power sector under Tinubu has witnessed some reforms as he is poised to ensure that he delivers electricity to the people.

..Part to recovery

Minister of Power, Mr Adebayo Adelabu, said that the reforms in the power sector were part of the “Renewed Hope Agenda’’ of Tinubu towards transforming the sector in the pursuit of reliable and sustainable electricity for a better Nigeria.

Adelabu, speaking on the achievements of the Tinubu-led administration in tackling the power sector issues across the National Electricity Supply Industry value chain in the last one year, said that the achievements have set the sector on the path of recovery and prosperity.

The minister said that the structural reform of the industry through legislation was a significant stride of the administration in the power sector with the signing of the 2023 Electricity Act into law by the president.

“This law alone has seen the devolution of regulatory powers to three states,” he said.

” In June 2023, the president officially signed the 2023 Electricity Act into law, marking a significant milestone in Nigeria’s electricity sector.

“The new law focuses on enhancing the regulation and management of the electricity value chain with the active participation of the sub-national governments.

“This has resulted in the process of devolution of regulatory powers to three states – Enugu, Ekiti and Ondo to set up their electricity market,”he said.

According to the minister, there is an advance effort in the development of a National Electricity Policy and Strategic Implementation Plan to provide a comprehensive framework for the nation’s electricity sector.

He said that this would signify a concerted effort towards addressing longstanding challenges and charting a sustainable path in Nigeria’s electricity industry”.

Adelabu said that he also got the presidential approval to resolve and defray legacy debts to gas companies, and also to allow efficient gas supply for the sector, as well as payment mechanism to address GenCos’ debts.

“Resolution of the sector obligations with presidential approval to defray legacy debts to gas companies to allow efficient gas supply for the sector.

The ministry of power has also overseen the infrastructure development with additional 463MW transmission evacuation capacity to the national grid through the Presidential Power Initiative.

” This was made possible through the signing of an accelerated performance agreement in November 2023 supervised by Tinubu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

“Additionally, the government has put in place the required framework to achieve an injection of 3.5 million meters into the power sector.

“About 1.5 million meters through the World Bank Distribution Support Recovery Programme and two million meters through the Presidential Metering Initiative has been injected into the industry.”

Adelabu listed the improved grid generation capacity with additional 700MW added through the newly commissioned Zungeru hydro power plants as part of efforts to improve power supply.

He also spoke on the regulatory plan that led to the unbundling of the Transmission Company of Nigeria to Independent System Operators and Transmission System Providers.

He said that the distribution segment of the sector had also been encouraged to guarantee improved service level for the Band A customers with introduction of cost-reflective tariff.

“A key liquidity conditions suitable for driving investment and improved monitoring and enforcement of service delivery by the Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) with necessary sanctions set in place for erring operators.

The minister said that the conclusion of the 550 millon dollars Nigeria Electrification Plan (NEP) has provided energy access to more households, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), educational and healthcare facilities in rural communities.

Adelabu said that the government was committed to achieving the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan with the conclusion of the 550 million dollars NEP.

“This has bridged the energy access deficit by providing electricity to over 1.1 million households, MSMEs, educational and healthcare facilities in unserved and underserved rural communities.

Adelabu said that Nigerians were beginning to see some progress from the outcome of the reform process and the key achievements of the administration in the last one year.

“However, we will not relent until we have a resilient and efficient electricity sector that meets the needs of all Nigerians. And we call on the different stakeholders to play their part.

…Need for improvement

Some experts, who spoke on the issue, said Tinubu’s administration had brought a lot of reforms to the power sector but however, said that there was a need for improvement.

Mr Kunle Olubiyo, the President, Nigeria Consumer Protection Network (NCPN), said that from May 2023 to date, there had been a lot of reforms by the Tinibu’s administration in the power sector.

Olubiyo said that giving power to states to operate their own electricity sector was a good development and a welcome idea.

“Before now, it was only the Federal Government that had the power to generate, transmit, and distribute power.

“But now due to the fact that Tinubu assented to the Electricity Act, 2023, which has now given the state the power to establish their own electricity agencies.

.This is a major mile stone and game changer, ‘’ he said

According to him, the recent deregulating of the metering process by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is the right step in the right direction.

“Most of the problems we have been having had to do with metering, there have been a lot of leakages or gaps in the process of acquiring meters.

“By deregulating the meter sub-sector, it is going to help and improve the issues of liquidity challenges in the sector and aggregate technical collection and commercial losses.

He also said that the recent unbundling of TCN by the government and granting licence for establishment of the Nigerian Independent System Operator of Nigeria Limited (NISO) was a welcome development.

“The president has demonstrated some commitment in doing that so we are looking at it in the second year of the Tinubu’s administration.

“Government as much as possible should fashion out a model that would make sure that TCN operates in an unbundled form in a commercially viable form. ”

Olubiyo urged the government to look at the area of multiple taxation in Tinubu’s second year in office as the tax burden was strangulating small businesses and the average man on the street.

“Government should look at those businesses that have a multiplier effect on job creation and productivity and create tax holidays.

Mr Princewill Okorie, the Executive Director, Electricity Consumer Protection Advocacy Centre commended the Federal Government on the reforms being put in place to move the power sector forward.

He said ’’I commend the Federal Government on the efforts they are putting in place to reform the sector, especially the Minister of Power, Mr Adebabayo Adelabu.

“I have been privileged to participate in the African Energy Market Place Forum held recently.

“And I saw the effort the minister is putting in place to develop a strategic implementation plan in order to meet up with the provisions of the Electricity Act 2023 .

“So that is a commendable effort to see that they develop policies that will drive the sector as a follow-up action to the Electricity Act that was signed into law,” he said.

Okorie, however, said that there were areas that the government was supposed to look into as it affects consumers.

According to him, the increase in tariff at this time that fuel has been increased is not a welcome idea as Nigerians are suffering.

He said that increasing tariffs at this time was not a good initiative as this would add to the problem of the consumers.

“As the executive director of the Electricity Consumer Protection Advocacy Centre, I am concerned about consumers’ interest in the sector.

However, Analysts think that if all these reforms are carried out effectively, it will translate to a stable and sustainable power supply.

Source: NAN