Nigeria will be in blackout by the first quarter of next year, unless the Federal Government and other stakeholders adopt proactive measures to avert the problem, the former Chief Executive Officer, Egbin Power Limited, Mr. Micheal Uzoigwe, has warned.
Responding to questions from participants during the Solar Energy Summit by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Lagos, he said the power system would be grounded in the next six months, if urgent steps were not taken by the government and other stakeholders to address challenges in generation, distribution and transmission facing the industry.
Uzoigwe, who is the Group Leader, Generation, Sahara Group, said it would take some time before the government successfully repaired the oil and gas pipelines that were destroyed by militants in the Niger Delta region, and further make gas accessible to the power firms.
He said: “Fixing the pipelines as at when due is a problem which the government and power sector are contending with. Any delay in repairing the gas pipelines will automatically affect the operation of the power generation companies (GenCos). Also, the power distribution companies (DisCos) could not supply power to the consumers, due to problems such as inadequate transformers, cable, meters and other equipment.
“The Transmission Company of Nigeria(TCN) has its own problems. The agency could not wheel enough power to for the use of consumers, due to poor infrastructure.”
According to him, investors, who bought the assets of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria(PHCN), are burdened with debts, occasioned by failure of consumers to pay electricity bills.
“From all indications, it is not certain that power firms can overcome the problems of debts and infrastructure now, because electricity consumers are not willing to pay their debts,” he said.
He said the problems in the sector are complex, noting that the problems are being scratched on the surface, by successive administrations in the country.
He urged the government to subsidise the price at which it is selling gas to power firms in order to help solve the problems in the sector.
The country‘s electricity generation fluctuates between 2000 megawatts(Mw) and 5,000 Mw, a development, which implies that the country is yet to get its right with energy production. This is having undesirable effects on the economy, which has been in comatose for years