By Obas Esiedesa

WITH Nigeria facing its most difficult energy challenges in decades, Nigerian Institute of Power Engineers (NIPE) yesterday called for a wholesale review of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) including unbundling of the National Transmission   Company, TCN and phasing out of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc, NBET.

The institute at briefing in Abuja also called for the the creation of a distinct electricity distribution company for each state and Abuja.

The call came two day after the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed admitted that the N1.3 trillion spent by the Federal Government in the past two years to support the sector has not yielded any meaningful result.

The President of NIPE, Engr. Israel Abraham at the briefing said though the industry’s privatisation exercise done about nine years ago has not met expectations in terms of improved electricity supply, cancelling the privatisation may lead to more problems in the sector.

Abraham, who proffered short, medium and long term actions that should be taken by the Federal Government to resolve the challenges in the sector, added that the government must be ready to enforce the laws and regulations governing the NESI.

He noted that the present arrangement where each electricity distribution company (DisCo) was given about four states as franchises was unworkable as the operators do not have the resources to invest in such large areas to improve distribution infrastructures.

According to him, “There is a need to break up TCN to allow independence of the Independent System Operator (ISO) and the Independent Market Operator (IMO) for more effective and efficient management of the NESI.

“The unbundling exercise will thus require a massive funding mechanism by the FGN to support the TCN in bringing this about, and this should be considered a priority by the FGN.

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“The Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) should be phased out after satisfying the Conditions Precedent to bilateral contracts between willing buyers and willing sellers in the electricity market.

“DisCos should deploy Smart Meters to avoid consumer’s by-passing meters (to curtail electricity theft). Similarly, smart metering should be deployed on our transmission and sub-transmission networks (i.e. 330kv, 132kv, 33kv and 11kv) to create harmonious interface records. Load Limiters could be deployed for poor customers.

“There is a need to renegotiate the DisCos Franchise Areas to more manageable sizes. State by state basis for franchising is recommended. This will increase efficiency in power supply as each company will have enough funds to adequately invest to meet needs while the host state will find it economically convenient to partner as an investor with dedicated DisCos to make life better for its citizens.”

“There is a need to increase and expand the energy mix in Nigeria via the use of solar generators, nuclear power generating plants, wind turbines etc”, he added.

Vanguard News Nigeria


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