Frequent Blackouts Plague Nation, Gas Constraints Blamed as Businesses Suffer and Government Struggles to Overcome Sector Challenges

Frequent Blackouts Plague Nation, Gas Constraints Blamed as Businesses Suffer and Government Struggles to Overcome Sector Challenges

Nationwide Concerns Over Frequent Blackouts:

Nigeria faces mounting distress as citizens across the nation grapple with frequent electricity disruptions, causing significant challenges for businesses, unbearable heat for families, and disruptions in essential services.

Root Cause Identified: Gas Constraints in Power Supply:

The recent decline in electricity supply is traced back to gas constraints, as acknowledged by both the Nigerian Federal Government and the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

Months ago, similar challenges were attributed to gas shortages from the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC).

Struggling Power Sector Despite Privatization:

Despite the privatization of the power sector in 2013, Nigeria’s electricity generation, heavily reliant on 26 hydro and gas-fired power plants, remains between 3,000MW and 5,000MW for a population exceeding 200 million.

Financial Investments and Sector Challenges:

Despite substantial financial investments, the power sector faces challenges such as insufficient investment, inadequate policy enforcement, regulatory uncertainty, limitations in gas supply and transmission systems, and shortcomings in power sector planning.

Gas Supply Constraints Despite Vast Reserves:

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s third-quarter report in 2023 highlighted gas supply constraints as a major obstacle, despite Nigeria’s vast gas reserves, representing 33% of Africa’s total.

Government’s Response and Initiatives:

In response to the crisis, Adebayo Adelabu, the special adviser for strategic communication, mentioned that the federal government is actively addressing gas constraints.

Initiatives include discussions with stakeholders and settling debts owed to Generation Companies (GenCos).

Stakeholders’ Perspectives:

Joy Ogaji, Managing Director of the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), expressed uncertainty about the government’s involvement but acknowledged potential measures to address gas shortages.

Kunle Olubiyo, President of the Nigerian Consumer Protection Network, criticized the government’s stance, attributing the issue to a liquidity crisis and calling for an end to electricity subsidies.

Ongoing Challenges and Calls for Efficiency:

While the government tackles the gas shortage challenge, stakeholders emphasize the need for a strong contractual framework, reliable guarantees, and prompt payments to overcome challenges faced by Nigeria’s power sector.

Critics argue for the cessation of electricity subsidies to achieve efficiency.