It goes without saying that there is a nexus between the electricity sector and industrialization, since an adequate supply of electricity is a sine qua non condition for business growth, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Nigeria’s energy need is gigantic, ranging from 25,000 to 40,000 megawatts (MW) to serve its 218 million people.
However, currently installed generation capacity is some 12,522MW, while the transmission and distribution infrastructure can only deliver an average of 4,000MW to companies and homes.
Checks by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reveal that the electricity supply on the grid has not reached 5000 MW despite the concerted efforts of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to boost the supply of energy in the country.
It will be recalled that NERC in July 2022 activated a partial power agreement with key participants in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) to bring power supply up to 5,500 MW.
Despite this initiative, generation has remained within the 4,000MW threshold, while distribution is even below.
The country’s per capita electricity use is 136 KW/h, one of the lowest in the world. in Libya it is 4,270 KW/h; India, 616KW/h; China, 2,944 KW/h; South Africa, 4,803 KW/h; and Singapore, 8,307 KW/h.
Throughout 2022, the Nigerian energy industry ingloriously experienced the relentless collapse of the national grid, the liquidation crisis of electricity distribution companies, and the failed National Mass Metering Project (NMMP).
Although NERC has yet to collect system collapse data for 2022, grid performance and various DisCos updates showed that Nigeria’s power grid had collapsed some eight times by September 2022.
For example, on September 25, 2022, a grid collapse occurred when power generation on the system dropped from over 3,700 MW to just 38 MW.
On July 20, 2022, Nigeria’s power grid experienced the sixth collapse in 2022, while on June 13, the grid was also reported to have collapsed.
The nation’s power system collapsed twice in March (the same period TCN said saw a peak of 5,615.40 MW) and twice more in April 2022.
To stop the myriad of challenges plaguing the power sector, the Senate passed the Electricity Bill 2022 in July; Nevertheless, President Muhammadu Buhari has not yet given its approval to the bill.
Senator Gabriel Suswam, The chairman of the Senate Energy Committee said the bill seeks to provide an ideal legal and institutional framework for the industry and correct imbalances in Nigeria’s existing transmission infrastructure.
Among the energy value chain, stakeholders have singled out power distribution companies (DisCos) as the most culpable for enthroning a dark regime in the country.
Most DisCos are squirming under a huge debt load, a poor balance sheet, and underinvestment.
This was confirmed by the Minister of Energy, Mr Abubakar Aliyuwho said that nine of the 11 DisCos were on the brink of bankruptcy.
Aliyu explained that the situation had forced the Nigerian government to direct banks to find serious investors interested in buying their 60 percent stake in the Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Benin, Ibadan and Port Harcourt DisCos.
Even the National Mass Metering project, introduced in 2022, through which the Federal Government promised to provide free meters to Nigerians has yet to achieve the desired goal.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefielehad stated that the bank disbursed N47.8bn for some 865,956 meters across the country.
However, the implementation of the project by DisCos and Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) has not achieved the expected result.
To change the negative narratives of the power sector, Nigerians hope that the Federal Government will initiate new policies to improve power supply in 2023.
An energy expert Mr Adamson SaliuHe said that to repair the colossal failure suffered by the industry in 2022, electricity transmission must be localized.
“The electricity sector in 2022 was a colossal failure. We have never experienced this amount of national grid collapse in Nigeria.
“It was like the national grid was a switch that was turned on and off.
“The Nigerian Transmission Company must be dissolved and electricity must be located.
“We are wasting material and financial resources in the operation of the TCN”, he said.
Salu said: “Why is it difficult for us to generate more than 5,000MW? The answer is simple.
“Mini and small electricity generating companies should be encouraged and given the necessary financial assistance to increase generation.
“Imagine a situation where 2,000 mini and small businesses generate 200 MW to 2,000 MW across Nigeria, using sun, water, wind and other resources.
“Regarding distribution, let the government review the privatization of DisCos one more time.
“Let the competent organizations come together and the narrative will change dramatically.
“See the telecommunications sector as a benchmark” added.
According to, “The DisCos are doing what they like because NERC, as a regulatory body, is neither effective nor efficient.
“The war will continue between consumers and DisCos because of the dog-to-dog situation between them.
“Why should consumers buy poles, meters and transformers for DisCos?
“In general, the government should declare an emergency in the power sector and attract reputable international power generation and distribution companies to enter this critical sector.
“Without electricity, we are doomed as a nation,” He explained.
Saliu also claimed that local manufacturers would continue to wallow in pain and the economy would continue to plummet if urgent measures were not taken to save the power sector.
Mr. Kola BalogunChairman of Momas Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company (MEMMCOL), he investigated local manufacturing and installation of prepaid meters in the second phase of NMMP, which he said could create 500,000 jobs for Nigerians.
“President Buhari’s administration is to be congratulated for initiating the NMMP because there is an urgent need to close the metering gap in the electricity sector.
“I want to thank the government because the intervention that reached manufacturers under phase zero was a great success.
“It gave manufacturers the opportunity to have a proven process to know their capability and capacity and what they can offer to the market.
“The volume that was given to us was tested with the equipment, the manpower and why we need to improve even more,” he said.
Mr Sina Odugbemi The National Coordinator, WhereIsTheLight, advised the government and electricity regulators to be aware of their responsibility to protect citizens from regular exploitation and recover national assets sold to DisCos.
“DisCos can be difficult to advise because it can be a waste of time to advise those who are consciously exploiting and making free money without providing a meaningful service to the majority.
“My advice to clients who are direct victims of DisCos is to legally resist further exploitation through mass action.
“Pay for services rendered and refuse to pay for darkness,Odugbemi said.
As it is, Nigerians can only hope that the energy industry is heading in the right direction in 2023.