Africa in general is still in need of alternative source of electricity with over over half the entire population still without access to electricity.
Nigeria which has privatised its electricity sector with the government playing a supervisory role is still being crippled with poor generation and distribution of electricity. With peak power generation never exceeding an embarrassing 4,000 MW for a population of 200 million people.
Solar power technology is still another source of power generation that has not been exploited to the utmost due to lack of knowhow.
Since the privatisation of Nigeria’s electricity sector, power generation has gone embarrassingly low with production dropping to an alarming rate below 1000 MW, hence prompting the Federal Government to order the Nigerian Electricity Regularly Commission to enforce the contract mandating power distribution companies to provide meters to customers and eliminate estimated electricity bills in the power sector.
It has indeed been a circus show between government and the power distribution companies, in a back of forth over implementation of the contract mandating all electricity distribution companies to provide billing meters to all consumers instead of relying on estimation.
A government spokesperson said the directive to NERC became vital following the number of complaints coming from power consumers on meters, which the Discos should supply, as well as concerns about estimated billings and mass disconnection, adding that these would not be allowed to continue.
This is coming as the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, tackled the Chairman of NERC, Prof James Momoh, on the number of Meter Asset Providers, who had been licensed by the commission, stressing that the regulator must be serious in its duty of ensuring that the Discos and MAPs provide meters.
Fashola read various sections of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 at a press conference in Abuja, as he tried to explain why it was high time that the government acted and put an end to the excesses of the power distributors.
The minister maintained that:
“Government must act and will do so. The Discos bought these power assets with their eyes opened, and they must compete to deliver or exit.
“It is not my intention, or that of the government, to take over the business of the Discos. On the contrary, it is the government’s desire to see the Discos thrive in a competitive environment.
“In the period when they are not yet ready, willing, or able, life must go on and we must find solutions and substitutes as we have seen in other sectors.”
After reading several sections of the EPSR Act 2005, the minister stated that it was necessary to direct NERC to step in to “ensure that the Discos improve on their distribution equipment and capacity to take up the available 2,000 megawatts in order to optimise the use of the electrical resource produced by the Gencos, and I direct NERC to immediately act in this regard.