If you ever complained about irregular supply of electricity to the office of the vendor who topped up your pre-paid electricity meter card, and you were referred to the local electricity distribution company, whose staff told you that they could only supply what the Transmission Company of Nigeria supplied to them, you would have just completed the first level of frustration in Nigeria’s electricity industry.
It will be a little bit tricky to fault their logic that they couldn’t have given you what they didn’t have. This means you will have to take the next logical step, which is to further probe into the abyss of the electricity sector.
The next level of your frustration is when the staff of the faceless TCN (with no known street address) cannot be reached, or they tell you, if you miraculously find out their office, that they too can only supply to you what the electricity generating company supplied to them.
Then you will realise that the template of electricity delivery in Nigeria cannot deliver stable, regular and adequate electricity, and neither will you be able to hold anyone in the entire electricity sector responsible for the failure to deliver the electricity that you already paid for.
It is the height of absurdity for the 1999 Constitution to have demanded that whenever a state government generated electricity locally, it must be transmitted to the national grid that is run by the TCN.
Apart from making the “monkey to work for baboon to chop,” it makes it utterly impossible to hold any agency responsible for the supply of electricity to Nigerian homes, offices and industries.
Whoever designed the electricity delivery template in such a way that the GENCOs, TCN and DISCOs of the electricity sector practically operate in silos has no good knowledge of industrial design or is simply mischievous and has no good intentions for Nigeria.
Whoever it was that took the idea of unbundling the former Power Holding Company of Nigeria too literally, and unwittingly ended up ensuring that the electricity sector will not deliver enough electricity, under the yoke of an unwieldy workflow, must really be…. (skip it).
Of course, you must blame former President Goodluck Jonathan, who accepted the template that leaves no room to pin the blame for the inadequate supply of electricity in Nigeria on anyone, or organisation, in particular.
But you must also blame those investors who bought the GENCOs and DISCOs without due diligence. Anyway, the lacklustre performance of many of the GENCOs and DISCOs has more than demonstrated the managerial, financial and technical incompetence of the operators.
President Bola Tinubu promised that every bottleneck in the way of adequate electricity delivery in Nigeria would be removed. Going by the First Principle, the President must rearrange the electricity delivery template so that the GENCOs, transmission companies and DISCOs can be merged into one organisation within their assigned markets.
The President can start with the Gwagwalada Independent Power Plant whose groundbreaking ceremony was held recently in the Federal Capital Territory, which has the President as its governor, according to Section 301 of the 1999 Constitution.
The GIPP project, initiated and executed by the government-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, to be constructed by China Machinery Engineering Corporation and managed by America’s General Electric company, could be used to fashion the template for other regional markets in Nigeria– if it works.
Though the Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company Plc, jointly owned by members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, will likely supply the gas (the major input) that the Gwagwalada thermal IPP will use, the production, transmission and distribution of electricity that will be generated ought to be within one organisation.
The entire country should be divvied up into regional markets, with each market assigned to a consolidated electricity supply company that will generate, transmit and distribute electricity to consumers within that region.
- Ondo communities ‘ll soon enjoy 22-hour electricity – Commissioner
- FG licenses firm to generate 723MW
- Discos reject 3,700MW from NIPPs daily — NDPHC
In the United States, a composite Potomac Electricity company supplies electricity to Washington, DC and its environs, while the New England Electricity Company supplies electricity throughout the states in New England, the North-East corridor of America.
The 350 megawatts of electricity to be produced by the GIPP (which will later be upped to 1,350 megawatts), just a little more than half of the capacity of the thermal plant at Egbin, Lagos State, should not be treated with levity.
The money that will be expended on it could go to waste, and the project becomes a white elephant if the government is not too intentional in creating the legal and administrative framework that will deliver on its promise.
All the boasts of Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of NNPCL, that Nigeria’s proven gas reserves is 209 trillion cubic feet (and the potential gas reserve is 600 trillion cubic feet), could amount to naught if adequate care is not taken to intelligently explore the resource.
It makes a lot of sense, though, that the Trans-Nigerian Pipeline that will deliver the gas from the gas fields to Abuja is owned by the NNPCL, though it would have made better sense if it was owned by the GIPP that will use the gas to generate electricity.
Ownership of the pipeline by the NNPCL may hinder swift reactions whenever a problem occurs with the pipeline. When the gas pipeline, owned by a certain energy company in Lagos, had a problem, it didn’t take them a long time to act and remedy the situation.
The current gas transportation arrangement between the NNPCL and GIPP may not allow for swift action whenever a problem occurs in the future. That glitch may become very major, especially when the lethargy of the bureaucracy of the former stands in the impatient way of the latter, a dynamic and commercial venture.
It will make even more sense if the GIPP will not only generate electricity but also own the grid and the transformers that will deliver the electricity generated into the homes, offices and industries in the FCT and its catchment areas.
That way it will be possible to hold the GIPP responsible for all aspects of the delivery of electricity to the FCT because there will be no buck-passing, the line of responsibility will be clearly delineated and the consumer will be adequately protected from a potentially slippery vendor, who would have been prepaid for electricity not supplied.
While on the political campaign hustings, Tinubu had promised the electorate that he would ensure a stable and regular electricity supply. This should enhance the ability of the economy to grow, provide jobs and pay taxes to the exchequer of government.
Every economist worth the name will tell you that electricity is probably the most important infrastructure for the take-off and sustenance of any modern economy in the 21st century. Industries and homes are practically run by electricity.
The digital technology that powers the new economy that Nigeria wants to develop can only survive and thrive with a guarantee of a stable and adequate supply of electricity. There are just no two ways about it.
The President should encourage all stakeholders to rethink and rework the modus operandi of the electricity sector of Nigeria so that the prosperous future that Nigerians earnestly desire will be easily achieved.
The structure is important to the functioning of any system, which is a sum of its parts.
- Twitter@lekansote1, lekansote.com
Knocks trail Akpabio’s statement on senators getting ‘holiday allowance’
Inflation: Nigeria not doing badly compared with other African countries — CBN
No corruption allegations against Adamu, Omisore, says APC scribe
Why I used 10-year-old niece as drug courier – Lagos trader
Aiyenugbas: Son beats father in NPFL pre-season tourney
Bosun Tijani and lessons from ministerial screening
N120bn debt: Banks offer telcos repayment plan
Revised public service rules for directors and permanent secretaries