Electricity Supply – Renewable Industry Remains Hope of Future Energy

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THERE has been a lot of outrage over the recent increase in electricity tariffs. On one hand, people are complaining they were not well informed. People are not convinced. A lot of issues which I hope will be brought to the fore today. Mr. Ojuroungbe, is there a direct relationship between electricity tariffs and business?

Seyi

We train business owners in leadership skills and we get to interact with business owners. A lot of them share their concerns on the things that affect their businesses and electricity appears to be their major concern.

Morenike

When the tariffs are increased how does it affect you as a business owner?

Seyi

What they keep saying, the first challenge is non availability. The second has to do with increased tariff. They are paying so much for what is not available.

Morenike

Dr. Abba, was this increase necessary?

Abba

This is a service that has been provided by government for decades and we’ve seen how inefficient this service is. There has been a lot of money poured into the sector in the last one decade with very little results.

The way forward is liberalizing the sector and by liberalization we must open the door for investors to come in both local and international. The power sector reform started in 2000 leading to the Act itself finally signed into law in 2005.

It unbundled then NEPA into 18 companies and then rolled out plans for privatization so the tariff increase is a very essential component because you have to redeem it to the point where the sector will be able to generate adequate revenue to sustain itself.

When we were designing the recent tariff regime we had the social sides taken into consideration because like in any infrastructure service, access and affordability are very key factors.

Medium scale enterprises

We had to also widen the scope especially for small and medium scale enterprises and for poor people. We know for sure that any economy cannot be sustained if there is no small and medium scale enterprises.

China has more than 10 million small and medium scale enterprises and they are the biggest employers of labour.

Morenike

Gentlemen, would you like to add anything to- or challenge- what Dr. Abba said?

Kayode

I’d like to ask Dr. Abba if, before they effected the increment of tariffs, was there a platform made available for publics to make their contributions because as at today the tariffs have been increased, the cost of living has been increased and the supply of electricity is still inadequate. How do you justify the increment?

Abba

Were people really carried along? The regulatory process is participatory. We are required by law to consult widely for any regulatory process. The tariff itself is an order.

We don’t just go about increasing tariff anyhow. the first one was rolled out in 2008 and is supposed to have run for five years meaning the next major review should have been this coming year but a lot of work put in was based on financial and economic assumption.

In 2008 there were projections that by now we would have at least 16,000MW capacity for generation and just like any product the cost of electricity depends on the quantum of generation: the more you generate, the less the price.

There are annual reviews because fuel costs vary, you have to factor in inflation and there’s also foreign exchange. There is nothing we do that we do not involve stakeholders. We bring in experts, academics, for the financial and economic model we had university professors to review it.

If we need to review the tariff they will have to justify that to the regulator and then the regulator will finally decide whether to accept, reject, review or whatever. Government has subsidized power for a very long time. That’s what brought in corruption because government employees are paid whether the service is delivered or not.

There are political issues, commercial issues, market issues and consumer issues. The regulator is right in the middle managing these three key components. I am sure Seye here will agree with me as a financier, that he won’t be supporting any bid for anybody if it does not make economic sense. s. We have various plans: residential, commercial, industrial, special categories like places of worship, schools, hospitals and we also have streetlights,a general public service. All these have been subsidized and even the commercial are categorized into various sectors because the barbershop is not the same as a small factory or a woodwork shop that involves heavy machinery.

Morenike

If I may come in here I do not think it’s a question of whether the supply is increased. For me it’s more about the workability in terms of available funds. Is it going to be actually possible or are people going to be literally thrown out of business.

Alomo

We are discussing is basically about the tariffs. The regulatory agencies are there, the operators are there, the consumers are there.

But the basic rudiments must not be neglected. Generating electricity in Nigeria and the whole of Africa is still basically from the conventional ways of generating electricity: specifically gas fire, gas turban, and very few of the hydro electric gas power station. The cost of crude oil where the source of generating electricity will continue go higher. If we base our generation on the conventional methods the tariff will continue to go up

The key point we have to look at is possible ways to cause electricity tariffs to come down and the SMEs to drive.

Ubong

I want to ask, how will you be able to regulate the people that have taken over, the generating companies so that tariffs and even the service itself will be controlled, because if you want to compare it with the mobile companies…

Morenike

Mr. Ojurongbe: does this challenge your need for efficiency, do you think that in a way small companies always try to hide behind other factors in order not to be efficient or is it an issue that cannot be surmounted?

Seyi

One major challenge was stakeholder management; they weren’t duly informed and a lot of them (SMEs) did not even have a problem with the increment but availability. What is the added value?

Seye

It’s always going to be a politically challenging thing for the regulator in this case because you have to increase the tariff first and then that’s what is going to be the signal for generation to improve because what has happened in Nigeria historically is that between about Obasanjo’s military government to Obasanjo’s civilian government no power plant was built in Nigeria.

Risk-balance approach

There is chronic underinvestment in that sector and what that means is that we need to ramp up significantly the generation. We saw what happened when the government tried to build NIPP, the power plant.

What we were told was that the power plant was built and then suddenly someone asked, where will the gas come from?

The private sector would have a much more holistic and risk-balance approach to building it and for you to get the private sector involved to bring money to invest in that sector you have to have a tariff that guarantees two or three things: that they recover their capital costs…

Ubong

But not in one day!

Seye:

Definitely not in one day. You have to guarantee that they can pay to maintain the investment so that when they build power plants they can pay for fuel, people, replace spare parts and then you have to make sure they can make a profit.

It’s challenging in the Nigerian case because the average person will complain he still does not have light but I cannot conceive of any other way of doing it. What it was at 7naira you are not even recovering your capital cost. Nobody would make that kind of investment.

To address the SMEs as well, part of the problem we’ve had generally in Nigeria is that most private entities are generating their power with generating sets, i-beta-pass-my-neighbour and the average of those generators are probably operating at 30% or 40% of capacity so there’s a lot of waste in the system.

There should be more aggregation, maybe we should move towards new models of collaboration in which they are partnering to buy gensets together or they are partnering to get themselves connected together to the gas grid for instance as you see in Ikeja.

I know the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria has one of those initiatives in which what they’ve essentially done is to go together as a cluster and try to build power plants to serve their own needs and we need to get to more creative ways of doing things like that, at least in the interim until generation responds to the generation incentive.

Morenike

About tariffs coming in the way of incentive, are there other factors that are also responsible for inefficiency, particularly corruption in terms of power generation and costing?

Seye

The level of generation is just too low compared to demand so even accounting for corruption we still have a massive, massive shortfall in power generation.

Morenike

Dr. Abba, as at today, what amount of electricity do we need?

Dr. Abba

Unfortunately we are very poor in Nigeria with regards to data. We are doing a baseline study which will take anything between six months to a year before we get accurate figures but we can put things in perspective.

If you look at South Africa with population between forty and fifty million, they are generating over 45,000 MW and they still have some crises from time to time during peak periods.

They had a very cold winter this year so there was increased demand for electricity and they were rationing it. As at yesterday we had a peak generation of 4,000MW so you can see the gap as Seye said. We may not need up to 45,000 because we don’t have the industry South Africa has but I can assure you, 30,000. If you quantify the amount of energy being used by that big generator I saw when I was coming up…

Ubong

1000KVA

Abba

Costs 45/50 naira/KW hour. The small i-pass-my-neighbour is up to 70 because they are using petrol and they are even more inefficient. Our highest tariff in Nigeria today considering inefficient networks that we have is 23 naira/KWhour, and that, most of us here are not paying up to half of that in our own residential consumption so we are still being subsidized.

Subsidy regime

In the subsidy regime there’s a cross subsidy. The bigger industrial consumer and the richer take more of that 23naira. Those that have dedicated transformers will pay more.

The poorest members of the community are the rural dwellers and urban poor. Anybody that consumes 50KW and below per month, their tariffs are only 4naira/KWhour, so you can imagine . then we come to the commercial where the SMEs fall in.

They also enjoy low tariffs. How much will it cost to buy one gallon of petrol? We have 36 states in Nigeria and 724 local governments. Even if you want to reach all local governments and talk to people and use radio and television and newspapers as much as we have done we will only be able to cover after two years.

WHAT I do is to round geo-political zones, work will national orientation agencies, civil society organizations. I have been to Lagos no fewer than six times.

It’s either we have power consumer assemblies or we are convening special meetings with estate developers and residents for making enquiries into this issue of estimation because it’s one of the biggest issues.

We use this information as feedback to go and sit with our colleagues in Abuja to design policies and one of the policies we designed is pre-paid meters. The preferred means of metering is pre-paid meters because if you don’t have light your meter will not run.

Cost of metering

Nobody will come and cut your light. We have given a target of eighteen months from June 1 this year and the cost of metering has been factored in. We brought all the distribution companies to Abuja, asked them to show us how they are billing people and there is no standard way even officially talk less of on the lower level where they are planning bills anyhow.

If you pay them something next month then your bill will come down and when the guy is broke he will come with a bigger bill. There is a standard methodology for which any customer will be billed or does not have a meter and you can challenge it. We are opening offices for customer complaints. We had opened an office here in Alausa in September. Even the governor was with us. It’s called the Forum Office. We have one in Eko, which has been in existence for a few years. People that felt their complaints have not been addressed can go to the forum and I can assure you membership is independent, credible people from the area.

We have membership from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, representative of the Chambers of Commerce, Nigerian Society of Engineers, an NGO and another nominee who is resident there. We are hoping we can have them across the country

Customer service is a key aspect of any service you are giving. Out of the power generated in Nigeria about 25%of the very little comes from natural gas like Egbin which is the biggest in the country generating to full capacity about 1, 320MW but as at yesterday they were only able to generate about 500-600MW so you can see the inefficiency but there is another company, a private company with installed capacity of 200MW. There is no day I open my chart they don’t generate more than 200. Egbin hardly meets 50% of capacity.

Morenike

Hence your belief in private sector intervention.

Abba

Exactly. If you look at Shell they have a 660MW plant at Afam. Constantly they are generating about 490MW everyday and they are not able to make it to the grid because they don’t have the lines. Agip has 250. If you look at their track over a year they generate almost that 250 throughout. If you look at our own station it might not be operative even for one year because of inefficiency and corruption.

Coming back to you Abel, we have issues with Kainji because we do not control the waters that come in. In the whole world today apart from Germany, Nigeria has the best wholesale tariff/trailer power generation.

For Egbin, 9,600/MW is what they get when they generate a hundred MW. If you install a solar plant for every MW you will get N57,000. So having a balance of energy- gas, hydro, solar, wind- is what a country would want but we are a country that has abundant natural gas. We can utilize that gas to generate electricity for ourselves but we don’t have sufficient turn out.

There is a huge, huge gap as Seye mentioned and no government can resolve it on its own. It requires other stakeholders’, a lot of private capital which is not even available in Nigeria so you must have the right kind of environment to attract foreign direct investment.

Morenike

Does that answer your question?

Alomo

It throws more light on the direction. There are enormous opportunities. We have cost efficient solar power systems. You consume from what you generate. If you generate excess you can always channel back

Morenike

As Mr. Bassir said there is a lot of waste when people are generating electricity for themselves and it is important to have community projects whereby these wastes can be minimized.

Alternative energy

Let’s talk first of the commercial, what percentage of your business cost comes from power?

Seyi

From the feedback we receive it is about 30%

Morenike

Engr. Alomo and Mr. Kayode, do you really believe alternative energy is cheaper realistically?

Kayode

It’s not cheaper . Relative to conventional energy that is NEPA

Morenike

Even now with the increased tariff?

Kayode

Yes. The cost of battery, which is approximately 50,000 per 12V 200amps. One of the reasons that it is so high is the cost of duty. If government can cut down on cost of duty… bringing battery from either Asia should attract less duty if we want alternative energy to be encouraged.

Aloma

Kayode, I don’t quite agree with you that alternative power source is not relatively cheap. I will take it from this angle. Looking at either wind, solar, biomass- they are still the major options. Here in Africa what we see of alternative power source is majorly demonstration or just mere deployment while in advanced countries it is renewable technology development.

There is a huge gap between Renewable Technology Development (RTD) and demonstration or mere deployment. A lot of people are not aware of RTD at all. Take for example a research commissioned by the European Union for over 74 countries across Asia, Latin America, Africa and other parts of the world revealed that in Africa we only indulging in demonstration. The solar radiation on a daily basis if well harnessed is more than the energy we require in the whole world for annual consumption.

Morenike

But we are talking about cost.

Alomo

Yes. Take for example I-beta-pass-my-neighbour. 1000W. If you use an average of N300 to N500 fuel on a daily basis. If you must run that generator for 365 days what does it amount to? If you have a 1KVA inverter and rechargeable 200W solar panel with just normal 200W battery will consistently give you 24/7 equivalent load which you use the I-beta-pass-my-neighbour to run for more than two, three years.

Ubong

I thought you were going to talk about the initial cost.

Alomo

If you calculate the cost factor of N300 of daily fuel consumption for 365 days and the cost to produce just a 1KVA inverter.

Ubong

Let me give you an analogy. It is like somebody who wants to live in Ikotun and somebody who wants to live in Surulere. The amount of money you use to come to work here can even be less but you might not have the money to get a house in Surulere immediately. That is the same thing.

Wale

He has a very good point because we are also not looking at the after effects of these things we are putting in place: pollution. The pollution effect of using the generator outweighs the advantage and the after effects. We are talking about cancer.

Alomo

The fact remains that it will give you far more benefit than the normal generator. There are so many ways to it. You can divide the cost.

Morenike

An area that is of particular interest to me in this discussion is that of government policy regarding being able to generate electricity. We all generate electricity, anyway. An example is the Enron matter with the Tinubu administration some years ago which caused a huge furore which was to be the beginning of the political cold war between the administration and the then Obasanjo administration. Is there really an active policy in place.

Abba

We have a regulatory framework which is one of the best in the world that encourages renewable energy development in Nigeria. Government will come up with the Renewable Energy Master plan just as we have been talking about gas master plan in Nigeria. I agree renewable energy will be cheaper on the long run not medium term because of the high capital investment required. If we had a single digit people can borrow over a long term and it will be more competition. If we look at places like Canada, I have been to a house where they have solar panels, they have what they call a smart grid. When energy is generated they utilize in the house. When they don’t utilize it goes back to the grid and they sell it. Sometimes they utilize everything. Sometimes they even earn money. Our grid is not yet even standard talk less of being smart but we hope with the private sector-led part of it we will start improving. It is the story of telecoms.

Abba

When we have PHCN as we do today, the biggest challenge is that of inefficiency and corruption. Wherever they can hide and make more money they will, we know that. There is a rule making process that everybody must follow. If they try that they must answer your complaint within 14 days. If they don’t do it we can penalize them, we can sanction them.

Just like CBN.So also will be the new operators. The company must have certain number of years, the back ground , the experience, key management. We are what NCC is to telecoms and CBN to the banking sector.

Wale

We need decentralization. I for one think that energy should be decentralized and businesses should be allowed to have a framework of their own because you are not talking about a country like Togo or Ghana. Nigeria is a very big country and in order to try and get to the nooks and crannies of this country we need decentralization. When you are talking about gas flaring, Nigeria at one time gave the multinationals a date to stop and that was not the case. They are still flaring. Why can’t they sanction them? Go to all the filling stations; it’s N97, but some people are selling it for 110. I’ve just put up a petition to DPR against about three filling stations but the thing is that DPR itself is not even helping matters. .

Abba

Wale, I must tell you clearly the electric power sector reform is very different. We are not as big as America, which has what we call FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission). If you go to the US each state has its own utility regulatory commission. If you go to DC they have the DC Public Utilities Commission.

They regulate telecoms, water, gas, sometimes transportation all in one. You mentioned gas flaring. The petroleum industry in Nigeria is a different animal on its own. DPR as far as I am concerned is part of the ministry of petroleum. We are not part of the ministry of Power; we are independent, we were appointed by the president, we have five-year term. We were screened and cleared by the National Assembly, we report to the National Assembly and the president.

That’s why if we don’t agree with the position of any minister we can come out and say so and that’s the way an independent regulatory agency should be run. DPR Director can never come and say “no” to the minister- the next day the person is out and they are supposed to be the regulators of the petroleum sector.

Seye

The worry about regulation is I think quite valid also from the perspective of the private sector from the investing community or the investing class. There will be minor reviews every six months and major reviews and the tariffs will be revised upwards or downwards as necessary. The downward, we will wait for.

We won’t know the effectiveness of the regulator until the regulator has to raise the tariff and the president makes a strong political push against it because it might not be in the government’s interest. It is only when we get to that point that we will know the value of the regulator. Judging from the quality of Dr. (Abba), I know Dr. Amadi, I know quite a few of the people there, they are very well trained, international class, the rules are quite clear, they conduct themselves in a very good way.

Abba

We should be reducing by a little before the end of this year. Where we needed to say no to even the powers that be I can assure you we said no and we will continue to say no and we know nothing will happen because of the nature of independence.

Nature of independence

If nobody I can vouch for my chairman. He is renowned, he is in the media, a very vocal person; and so far even in the media I have never heard anything negative and that’s the culture of the commission.

We have expended a lot of resources in training our staff. No matter what we are going to do the right thing for this country. It affects our families. Even the NEPA people, the things they are doing affect us.

Wale

If we don’t get it right now I don’t think we can get it right. There is this issue of the states partnering together to bid and at the end of the day it was given to some private individuals and the states started shouting that they were outsmarted. I felt that states coming together to bid should be in the interest of government because it will be their own.

THEY will try to protect it more than others.

Abba

You can’t go from one state of inefficiency to another. Some of the state governments are well run. Take Edo state that is complaining now. These are Federal Government investments, federal government is selling it because it is mismanaged, inefficient and we are trying to increase the efficiency. Let me tell you something most people don’t know. The Federal Government is only selling 60 per cent.

There is 40 per cent that is reserved for states, the minority stake. The state must be involved in electricity distribution because they are bringing a lot of value to providing electricity in rural areas. These clients may not be interested in supplying electricity to the remote areas but the state has a duty to the people and that is the thinking behind leaving that 40 per cent.

In addition we said state governments you have state investment, you can come together, work with private investors like Lagos and Delta states back then participated in the bid for Econet. Clearly they failed. There are criteria and two bids were seen – one alternative bid. That’s wayo now. States like Rivers, Bayelsa, CrossRiver, Akwa Ibom, they won and fair and square. It’s a credible process so far.

We are not into supporting anybody that will go out to the cleaners and try and kill the process because if that person emerges how can you even regulate him? This one that thinks he has a direct access somewhere, we don’t want that. We want people that respect the rules , that will be bound by the regulatory framework, that will obey them in a very cool manner.

Seyi

Not too many people have problems with increasing tariffs like I said before but then a lot of SME owners do not have access to this information. It’s the first time I am hearing all these and it is good enough that the Federal Government has plans but not too many people know the reasons behind the increased tariffs. It will be a good thing to carry stakeholders along more. I’m sure if I walk up to a barber now or someone that manufactures pure water he will say he does not see any justification for the increase.

Abba

There are places I go to cut my hair in Lagos here. If there is no NEPA they will charge you double and if there is NEPA, they will charge you normal rates because the cost of running their business with generator is more expensive- between N60 and N70 as against N23 maximum. So electricity has been underpriced for a very long time.

Seye

Mr. Abel was going to make a case for why there is no need for tariff increase.

Alomo

It does not actually worry me if the efficiency is there. The increase can come at any time but the problem the consumer is facing is not the one of increase. The tariff is not too high or too whatever. The issue is the billing system. We have under billing system and overbilling system. How many of the pre-paid meters do we have? The majority will have the normal analogue; in some cases there is no meter at all.

Seye

In your opinion who is going to have the incentive to fix the system and what is that incentive?

Abba

The link between the customer and the service provider is that meter. It was just a few months ago, PHCN in Nigeria submitted to us a customer number. The whole country was just five million customers. That cut across businesses, residential dwellers, industries and everybody, which is not correct.GSM in Nigeria, those actively connected is over 100million. So if you buy, and you give your client $200million, $150million to acquire, the first thing they do is to ensure their customers base. One thing I like Lagos for is that they have a database of each and every person living there. That service operator will have data on each and every individual and must ensure they are paying the electricity bill but PHCN, what do they care. Their salary is there and they can come and harass you and cut your line and you have to pay, so a private person who has invested a lot of money will know how to get his money back and surely if your meter is not running well, he will replace it.

Morenike

Our Business Editor here (Omoh Gabriel) specifically sent me to ask you about infrastructure. Should the cost of billing infrastructure be passed to the consumer? Should I have to buy a prepaid meter?

Seye

The various DISCOs (distribution companies) who are responsible for distribution and billing and things like that, I am sure they will have various policies. Each one of those meters cost about a hundred dollars. It’s a lot of investment to make upfront. When you come in you have to invest in all these poles and cables. You need to invest in transformers, a massive, massive investment, sub stations. Some of them are going to be attracted to the idea of trying to recover that cost upfront. It’s just the same way that the GSM guys make you pay for the SIM. In terms of the ethics of that it’s a question of whether the people accept it. It’s a market transaction.

Ubong

Are we not going to be held by the jugular- monopoly, that is what they call it. If there is no other DISCO in Lagos so they will tell you, either you pay me or you get out.

Seye

The problem is we do not have consumer rights advocacy.

Seyi

Awareness.

Morenike

Both.

Seye

And here the role of the regulator is going to be very key.

Abba

Most of infrastructure services are natural monopolies and that’s why we always balance things up with a regulatory framework to be in between that monopolistic tendency and the consumer. They have no right to generate above a thousand MW, they have no right to sell if they are not licensed.

Before they were charging 25,000 for prepaid and 55,000 for post paid but has been incorporated into part of the revenue. If it’s a brand new house you will pay connection I agree there is a communication gap between these policies and people not knowing what their rights are. That must be broken.

Alomo

I have concerns about the monopoly of unbundling of the power sector, because it is a critical sector. We cannot have Mr. A distribution company in Lagos and Mr. B distribution company in Lagos.

Strong policy framework

There must be strong policy framework on ground to see that companies are properly regulated and if any of them violate the policy will face stiff penalties. Then there must be an alternative source.

Morenike

What would you like to see in terms of policy?

Wale

If we look at the Enron, Federal Government/Lagos State issue and all other issues pertaining to some other states that have been fighting for this issue of decentralization it boils down to the fact that we want private investors to partner with government in providing energy. The present government will leave in four years, another government will come in. what is going to be the position of all these decisions that will be taken?

Will that government revert them? When we have a policy statement that is supposed to stand the test of time and they are for 20, 25, 30 years for that investor to come in and they know that when government says this is the position they have taken, position A; any government that takes over will not deviate from position A, will go along to achieve the right results. What we have is that by the time government B comes in, position A will be overturned, because we want to chart our own course. We want to be seen to have done something.At the end of the day everything will fall back on the judiciary . how do we absolve the judiciary.

Ubong

I still go back to simple mobile telecommunication. A lot of these lines are not connecting, so what are we going to do about this?

Seye

But NITEL is not even functioning at all.

Ubong

To be very fair since Nnaji came I’ve had light. I wanted an inverter but when they told me a battery would cost more than N50,000…

Alomo

It’s because you have not actually done the analysis. We are looking at a long term investment.

Ebele

He is talking about the initial cost

Alomo

It all depends on planning. Power will be more chaotic than what it is now.

Morenike

We have talked a lot about tariff but in terms of development we must know that tariffs cannot come down unless we actually develop the sector from within; the batteries, the panels and so on without having to go and buy it from China or elsewhere? What would be your thoughts on that?

Alomo

The major source of generating energy has been changed all over the world. They even insist on 25 per cent renewable by 2030 because of what? Because of nuclear harzard that occured in Japan and the cost of generating electricity via the conventional means. A time is coming, in less than 15 years or so from now, the crude oil is being depleted every day.

Alomo

To develop on the areas where we can gradually improve electricity in Nigeria in the various components. We have stand alone photovoltaic systems which anybody can afford and is working well.

Morenike

Is it made in Nigeria

Aloma/all

Actually we don’t make anything in Nigeria

Morenike

So, that’s my question. How do we get to that point, because that’s the only time we can control our power.

Aloma

The benefit of the photovoltaic system is that the cost is actually coming down on a daily basis. 15 years ago the cost of a watt of electricity from photovoltaic was $5 but now is less than $2/Watt and the cost will continue to go down because the material used in developing the technology is just silicon which every country all over the world has. Even in Nigeria.

Seye

I think, Engr. Aloma it’s good to make a distinction between the micro and macro levels. What makes sense on the micro level- if I go and put in solar panels and it costs me let’s say 20/30 million.

It makes sense because that costs the same as buying a car and you’re going to recover the costs over 25 years that makes sense on the micro level but on the macro level for the country, no matter what happens solar will never be cheaper than coal or water.

You have wind at night when the demand is not very high and unfortunately storage is very expensive so once you produce the power it goes straight to the home. The challenge is that it’s still not efficient yet and that’s why there’s the discussion about the smart grid and things like that. I am an enthusiast of clean energy on the micro level but on the macro level I don’t think we are there yet in terms of policy, capital costs and dependence on imports.

Aloma

The time is coming when the renewable will be more proactive than the normal conventional means; when we will have solar panel manufacturing companies here in Lagos, in every part of Africa.

Seyi

It’s because of the lapses that people need to pay attention to technicalities. If I get home, I pay my electricity bill and there’s light I don’t think people need to know all these details. It all boils down to availability. By increasing tariffs let’s assume these business owners agree to pay the new tariffs, when will there be electricity?

Aloma

Are they actually selling to us at a higher cost than they generated or is it too exhorbitant. But now if you are billing me N5/KW power and in a whole month there was no supply you collect N0 but the case is not what we see in Nigeria. If you are actually charged the real costs you won’t even complain about the cost.

Kayode

Dr. Abba addressed the coming of the private sector. People who are using prepaid meters now are enjoying correct billing. I for one I was using an analogue meter. I don’t have any complaint. The incoming of prepaid meter will actually solve that problem.

Seyi

I thought we were going to get an estimate on the time frame.

Seye

It takes 24 months to built a power plant and that is the future for us. The energy plants that Obasanjo built have to come on board and those ones are being delayed by gas infrastructure. When that one comes on board it takes us to 16,000, maybe 17,000MW. At that point you will see an extraordinary improvement in the electricity level. I think it might take like.

Seye

The major thing we need to recognise is that government has a limited budget. Right now my pet worry about Nigeria is that the penultimate census we did in 1991 which put the population at 85 million. Now they are saying 160million. That means in how many years 80 million people have been born. There is no investment in schools commensurate with that level. Our roads are bad. Virtually every sector in our life is horrible and it is clear that even taking out corruption government money is not enough. We need the private sector to do a whole lot more than it is doing so anything you are able to get the private sector to take care of on its own.

Wale

And apart from that from what we are hearing of what is happening in this country, if we have the opportunity of privatizing almost everything it is better.

Morenike

On that note, can we have the last word?

Ebele

What I was going to say is on this alternative power supply. I know in Canada some people have a solar village. Can the government not do something like that? Even individuals, corporate organizations can do that, build something for rural areas.

Kayode

Having said all, if we have right environment, right policy framework, everything will work out.

Alomo

Renewable industry still remains the hope of future energy because Uranium, coal, crude oil will get exhausted and the cost of renewable will continue to come down on a daily basis therefore the hope for our energy progress lies in isolated or individual power systems and also if invested on in economic scale.

Seye

My fervent hope is that we will be able to resolve the power issue in Nigeria. If we do I think it will add maybe 3-4% growth to our GDP per year and the importance of the regulator as Ubong mentioned is going to be very crucial. They need to be very thoughtful and analytical in what they do.

We also need strong consumers, advocacy. We need somebody to stand and give that other perspective such that by merging all those three perspectives we can have an optimized system that works for everyone.

In : Energy