Electricity remains an essential factor and economic tool in any nation. It’s important not just for individual use, but hardly will any sector of the economy or business survive without electricity. In Nigeria, “UP NEPA” is a lingua franca that spreads across the nooks and crannies of the country which mostly symbolizes the presence of electricity. Here are some things to note about electricity in Nigeria.
- As of December 2022, Nigeria has a generating capacity of 22,000 megawatts
- Nigeria as of 2020, has 54% electricity access
- Despite the nature of the country’s electricity, Nigeria exports electricity to neighbours Niger, Benin, and Togo.
Over the years, one question that has yet to be answered despite promises made by successive governments is the possibility of the country having electricity for 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week. According to reports, 8 out of 10 Nigerians lack access to 10 hours of power supply. This means that most households and businesses do not have access to electricity for up to 10 hours. This has made doing business in the country increasingly difficult as most companies incur additional costs to have access to electricity through generating plants. Also, the unavailability and high cost of diesel, and petrol have further compounded woes and increased prices of goods in the market.
Electricity generation, transmission, and distribution now on concurrent list, but…
In Nigeria, electricity generation, transmission and distribution are placed on the concurrent legislative list. This means that both the federal and state legislatures share power in this regard. However, there are some limits to the power which a state can exercise in some instances as electricity. In paragraph 13(b) of the concurrent legislative list, the national assembly is vested with the power to make laws as regards the generation and transmission of electricity to any part of the country.
In paragraph 14(b) the state is only vested with the power to generate, transmit and distribute electricity to areas not covered by the national grid within the state. This means that now the federal government was vested with the sole right to electricity in the country. However, in March 2022, the lawmakers at the National Assembly passed a bill to reform the 1999 constitution. The bill allows states to generate and transmit their own electricity (without fully relying only on the national grid).
Despite having a generating capacity of 22,000 megawatts, the country’s power generation peaked at 4,594.6MW as of November 2022. The electricity generated is considerably low considering the country’s population of over 200 million people.
In July 2019, the FG signed a deal with Siemens AG to increase electricity generation to 25,000MW in six years. In phases, it’s expected to increase from its current capacity to 7,000MW by 2021, 11,000MW by 2023, and 25,000MW by 2025. Also, based on international standards of 1,000MW to one million people, the country is expected to at least generate 200,000MW to give the population better access to electricity.
In Africa, Egypt, Morroco, Tunisia, and Algeria are countries with the most access to electricity with 100 per cent access. In Egypt, the country overcame its electricity woes through investment. In 2015, it signed a $4.4b deal with Siemens AG which built three power stations with a combined output of 14,400 megawatts in two years. According to President El Sisi, $39 billion was spent between 2014-2019 to double electricity output to about 60,000MW in the country.
Nigeria needs to spend at least $100 billion for 100% access to electricity
24/7 electricity in Nigeria will no doubt come with a cost to Nigerians and consumers. In an earlier article, having electricity 24/7 is possible. One of the ways this can be done is through the clustering of electricity. This means neighbourhoods/areas/places with almost similar consumption rates and under an agreement can negotiate a deal for their own power. The earlier report highlighted how it was possible to achieve this through a blend of 60% from grid supply and 40% from generators through an independent operator at an initial N95/kWh. The cost could rise as reported, based on some factors which are not limited to gadgets usage in a household, amount of electricity from the national grid, and cost of fuel. This could cost between N100,000 to N400,000 or more monthly. This will also raise questions about the commitments and willingness of Nigerians to pay.
The population in Egypt is around 109 million which could as well pass as half of the population of Nigeria. With Egypt’s expenditure that high within the timeframe, and considering the cost in recent times, Nigeria might spend $100 billion as the minimum within the same timeframe or more to provide constant electricity and increase access to almost 100 per cent.
In Nigeria, the main source of electricity is Thermal and Hydro. Nigeria can take a clue at Morroco in exploring other sources to provide electricity for its citizens. According to state-owned power utility ONEE, Morocco’s electricity production in 2021 came from coal (37.08 per cent), hydroelectricity (16.14 per cent), fuel oil (7.67 per cent), natural gas (17.72 per cent), wind (13.37 per cent), solar (7.58 per cent). Nigeria can explore this to shift towards renewable energy sources which will help provide more sustainable power. Electricity access to as high as 100 per cent in the country is possible but will come at a cost.