Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has said Nigeria needs a full audit of electricity consumers in the country, through a comprehensive national census exercise to be able to plan and deliver steady electricity to homes and industries.
He said it would be impossible to provide steady power supply without a data on the number of people requiring the utility, hence his recommendation that such exercise be instituted.
The minister stated in a statement by his senior media aide, Mr. Hakeem Bello in Abuja that such an audit would help to bring all consumers into the metering net of electricity distribution companies to enable them pay accurately for what they consume.
He, however, did not state if such exercise was being considered by the government but said if it was done, it would boost the finances of the power generating and distribution companies to deliver more power to homes and industries and also maintain their power facilities.
According to the minister, the prospect of achieving uninterrupted power lay in the maintenance of sustained growth in the sector to match population increase. He also explained that proactive energy conservation in homes and offices; energy preservation by consumers as well as conservation of water and loss reduction in the sector were critical to achieving stable power supply.
Fashola noted that even if all other variables required for stable electricity were met, however, the hope of steady and uninterrupted power could only be assured if certain challenges facing the sector were solved.
One of the challenges he listed include, management of the expectation of the people to have power immediately after the sector’s privatisation because of the impression created that this would happen immediately after.
Other challenges include: agitations by various aggrieved groups that sometimes lead to attacks on power assets; vandalism of power assets; power theft and problems of payment of bills which he said included assaults on Discos’ revenue collectors.
“Energy efficiency is critical at all stages even when we are trying to get incremental power at this stage when we have the capacity to produce about 5,000MW, assuming we have no gas issues. That 5,000MW can serve more than the people which it is currently serving if we conserve it,” he said.
Fashola said there were plans to produce sufficient power in the country, and listed the various power and ancillary projects being undertaken or completed across the country.
These include: the repair of gas turbines; and the strengthening of the transmission network to evacuate power and priming of the National Independent Power Project (NIPP) Gbarain plant to begin generation into the national grid.
Other power sources he said the country was targeting to increase supply includes: expanding the Qua Iboe station; completion of the 215MW Kaduna power plant; 40MW Kasimbilla; 39MW Dadin Kowa; and 300MW Azura plants.
He also said the 700MW Zungeru hydro power station and 30MW Gurara plant would complement government’s efforts in upgrading power supply in the country.