Commissioner blames frequent grid collapses on lack of sanctions for defaulters

LAGOS State Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources Olalere Odusote has blamed lack of sanctions for defaulters for frequent grid collapses which throw the nation into avoidable darkness.

Odusote who spoke at NEXIER power dialogue symposium late Thursday in Abuja on the theme ‘Towards a decentralised energy market’, also stressed the need for the Federal Government to decentralise the electricity market.

He noted that Nigeria’s electricity sector, despite the privatisation exercise, has failed to deliver efficiency and adequate power to Nigerians.


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Last week, the national grid broke down twice in three days, throwing the country into darkness.

Nigeria relies on a single national grid for its over 200 million electricity consumers, a situation that has been faulted by industry stakeholders.

Odusote observed that the grid has continued to collapse because nobody is being held accountable.

“Let’s think of the market as the market that can serve itself and not market of subsidies. Decentralisation of the grid is not isolation of the grid, it is opening up the grid for more investor friendly environment.

“Grid collapse is happening because there’s no penalties,” he said.

The commissioner who also decried huge subsidy in Nigeria’s electricity sector said it hasn’t yielded any fruit since the privatisation exercise.

He added, “We’re subsidising consumption instead of production. This could scare investors away. What we need is more states’ collaboration. The states need to be factored in to take up more roles and responsibilities.”

Another participant at the NEXIER power dialogue Chukwudi Okpalajiaku stressed the need for policy makers to push for competitiveness in the power sector.

“We need to develop the competitiveness within the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry. This would allow for the regulations to take effect better, otherwise, how do we regulate when the wants are scarce?

“We need to create policies to attract more investors. If a decentralised market would do that, it would make more sense,” Okpalajiaku said.

Oyebode Fadipe, a power sector analyst and former spokesperson of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, (AEDC) said the current level of power supply has not catalysed economic prosperity.






     

     

    According to Fadipe, Nigerians currently have lesser volume of electricity supply compared to what they had in the days of the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) and Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

    Nigeria has delayed full unbundling of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to enable a separate role for a systems operator and market operator.

    Analysts say unbundling of TCN would go a long way to address concerns of grid collapse.

    “The market operator will enable appropriate sanctions for distribution companions and systems operator who reject loads which puts pressure on the grid. Right now, it is not so because TCN hasn’t been unbundled fully,” an energy lawyer and power sector analyst Chuks Nwani told The ICIR.

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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