Nigeria’s National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Chairman, Prof. James A. Momoh believes if the power crisis currently being faced by the West African nation is solved, it will lead to about 50% of the country’s problem automatically resolved.
“Solving energy challenges in Nigeria is solving about 50% of the nation’s problem,” he argued.
In his view, when the power challenges are resolved, they would boost economic growth, thereby, resulting in job creation for the teeming youth.
Prof. James A. Momoh stated these in a presentation during the just ended IEEE Power Africa Conference held in Abuja, Nigeria.
With a population of about 190 million, recent Nigerian Energy Policy report indicated that less than 50% out of the total population is connected to the grid supply, leaving the majority of the population without electricity.
Nigeria is endowed with large oil, gas, hydro and solar resource, and it already has the potential to generate 12,522 megawatts (MW) of electric power from existing plants, most days are only able to generate around 4,000 MW, which is insufficient.
So, on a fundamental level, there is simply not enough electricity generated to support the entire population. Although this is a very big challenge, it provides ample opportunities for professional, researchers and investors.
In his presentation, Prof. Momoh enumerated a number of interventions which were intended to reform Nigeria’s power sector.
However, these reforms, Prof. Momoh noted, have not been without implementation challenges.
He mentioned the labour, transaction costs relating to coordinating optimal investment across generation, transmission and distribution, stakeholder buy-in, managing expectations on performance, assessment of affordability especially for the vulnerable customers, designing of appropriate incentives, as well as conflicting roles of policy regulations and operation, as some of implementation challenges.
Regulatory Interventions to sector challenges
The presentation also touched on a number of regulatory interventions which are aimed at addressing challenges within the power sector of Nigeria’s economy.
Some of these interventions are ensuring that market contracts are effective, ensure that payments are made on time through FG interventions, enforcement of GSA and GTA contracts, discipline in the electricity market by enforcing the market rules and grid code, approval of cost reflective tariffs for TCN, ensure minimum standards for distribution operations are adhered to by the discos, as well as efficient dispatch of power plants.