This article looks at some of the recent developments in the Nigerian Power Sector that should be sustained
Folowing my previous article titled Bounties of Hope in the NESI, it is imperative to highlight some of the most important initiatives that if well implemented and sustained, will lead Nigeria out of doldrums.
The main problems with the power sector in Nigeria relate to the issues of tariffs, bankability of investment, transparency of financial and power flows along with the will power of the government.
As a sector, we have never had it so good with presidential support in the history of the NESI with a number of presidential initiatives (PIs) being rolled out.
Financial discipline is now being ensured in the power sector with the cooperation of the DisCos and Deposit Money Banks. The Presidential Power Initiative (PPI – a.k.a Siemens’ deal) and Presidential Mass Metering Initiative (PMMI) will also follow to further assist with the coordination and prioritization of investments in a way that if well implemented, we should have reasons to enjoy improved power supply as consumers in the NESI.
This PI aims to provide up to 6 million consumers with meters. Judging by the total number of consumers registered to date by the DisCos and those without meters, over 80 percent of consumers will soon be metered provided those who have functional and smart meters are not being asked to get new smart meters “by force by fire”. As a result of these, onewill expect the collection losses declared in the NESI to begin to reduce and therefore monthly deposits to NBET will surely increase. This is expected to improve the liquidity crisis bedevilling the NESI.
It is important to state heretofore that for the scheme to be a success and a total departure from the experience we have had under CAPMI, there should be monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of every step along the way. Such a change process will include systems and people targeted changes. Each of the meters being supplied should be given a unique identifier that can be located, tracked, identified to a consumer and remotely interrogated. The total number of meters issued at any point in time, information relating to the specific consumers who have received them and the issuing DisCos or MAP should be readily available to the M&E team. There is no need to give a new meter to a consumer who has a functional prepaid meter. Giving meters to consumers on the higher Bands of the Service Based Tariffs who are without smart meters will cut it.
To tap into the advantages presented by the smart metering initiative, the PPI should implement a central metering data scheme that ensures visibility of both financial and power flows on a common platform. Every DisCo should be encouraged to invest in SCADA systems just as recently done by Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) and others. Investments in the power sector should henceforth be coordinated in such a way that synergy of purpose can be realized. Investments in TREP, DISREP, PIPs, PPI, & NDPHC etc will fall within the description.
In all of these, there should be coordination and synergy between the main operators and regulators within the NESI for Nigerians to benefit maximally from these excellent initiatives in the power sector.