Journalists to FG: Review power sector 10 years after privatisation 

Journalists covering Nigeria’s Power Sector Thursday asked the Federal government to holistically review the sector 10 years after its privatization. 

The journalists under the auspices of the Power Correspondents Association of Nigeria (PCAN), however, clarified that the review should not necessarily take away the assets from operators, but to find solutions to the huge challenges facing the industry.

The Chairman of PICAN, Comrade Obas Esiedesa, who made the call in his open address at the 3rd annual workshop of the association in Abuja, noted that the Electricity Act 2023 has prescribed far-reaching changes to how the sector has been governed in the past. 

The workshop was themed:  “Resolving Nigeria’s Power Crisis: The Implication of the Electricity Act 2023”. 

He said: “The Electricity Act 2023, has prescribed far-reaching changes to how the sector has been governed in the past, especially the devolution of power to the states. We believe that the current position of the Act requires strong regulatory bodies to ensure the safety and efficient management of the industry.

“On November 1, 2013, the Federal Government handed over the distribution and most generation assets to the private sector, marking the beginning of private investment into the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry. Since then, expectations raised by the entrance of private entrepreneurs into the sector have largely remained unmet.

“Ten years down the line, the time has come for the Federal Government to take a holistic review of the entire Power sector privatization.  Not necessarily taking away the assets from operators, but finding solutions to the huge challenges facing the industry. 

“It is worrying to note that with over 13,000 megawatts of installed capacity, the industry is still struggling to deliver 4,000MW of electricity consistently. That is why as a group, we welcome the new initiative by the Honourable Minister of Power,  Chief Adebayo Adelabu, that has specifically targeted the distribution sector and the consumers.

“We believe that transmission and distribution networks remain the biggest obstacles to efficiency and effective electricity supply in the country. We call for sincerity on the part of the government in the implementation of this new initiative unlike what we have seen in the Siemens project and quite a handful of other projects”. 

In his keynote address, the Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu,  who was represented by the Director of Transmission of the ministry,  Engr. Nosike Emmanuel claimed that the Electricity Act has liberalised electricity generation,  transmission, and distribution.

Adelabu, however, disclosed that the Federal Government would further explore the country’s regional energy potential.

He said: “As you are aware, the Electricity Act has liberalized electricity generation, transmission and distribution. It has also empowered States, Organisations and even individuals to generate, transmit, and distribute electricity.

“Under this Act, the State government can issue licenses to private investors to operate power plants and mini-grids, within the States. Private investors can also obtain licenses for generation, transmission, system operations, trading, distribution, and supply.

“We will also pay attention to the generation segment particularly in areas of distributed (embedded) power from renewable energy sources, while at the same time, advancing baseload power through thermal and hydro plants in the medium to long term.

“We will further explore our regional energy potentials. We will focus on solar energy in the North, mini hydro power plants in the Middle belt, and the Southwest, hybridized with solar while our coastal States will be identified for wind energy utilisation.”