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Nigerians yet to witness significant improvement in Power Supply over 2 years – NOI Polls


By Lexi Elo

Power poll results released by NOIPolls Limited for the first quarter of 2015 revealed that an average of 62.6 percent of Nigerian households saw no improvement in power supply to their households (from Q1 2013-Q1 2015); leaving only 37.4 percent who said they saw some improvement. This implies that for a period of two years of monitoring trends in the power sector, there has been no remarkable improvement in power supply, as the larger proportion of Nigerians did not see any improvement in power supply to their households.

In line with this finding, the South-West region had the highest average proportion (67 percent) and the South-East region had the lowest average proportion (56 percent) of respondents who saw no improvement in power supply to their households.

More findings revealed that over the same period, Nigerian households received an average daily cumulative power supply of between 5.4 – 7.1 hours daily. These findings highlight the existence of certain inherent issues in the nation’s power generation, transmission and distribution value chain.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]

As a result, the direct effect of these issues can generally be seen in the widespread purchase and use of alternative sources of power (such as generators, inverters, and solar installations etc) by a high percentage of Nigerians (average of 77.5 percent). This has also impacted on the spending of Nigerians on power supply; as these alternative sources are typically more expensive to run than direct power supply from DISCOs.

An evaluation of expenditure of Nigerians on actual power supply from Distribution companies (DISCOs); as well as expenditure on alternative sources, revealed that on the average (between Q2 2014 and Q1 2015) Nigerians spent between ₦3,302 – ₦3,613 on actual power supply from DISCOs and between ₦ 8,321 – ₦ 11,198 on alternative sources of power. This therefore brings the average total monthly expenditure on power to between ₦ 11,623 – ₦ 14,811. This finding throws light on some challenges Nigerians (especially low income earners) may be facing in the distribution of household consumption-expenditure; giving that the average income for Nigerians in this category ranges from ₦ 5,000 – ₦ 40,000

Finally, while the demand for power continues to increase even with the rise in population, access to power and the ability to meet this demand is highly important in enhancing household and business activities, as well as driving development in Nigeria. This in turn would depend greatly on the successful reform of the power sector with clearly outlined strategies which are time bound and incorporates diversification in power generation for the nation through other available sources. These were some of the key findings from the power polls conducted from Q1 2013 to Q1 2015.

The power sector in Nigeria has been beset with numerous challenges manifesting in poor power supply to the final consumer. Since the privatization of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria Plc. (PHCN) in 2013, Nigeria’s electricity generation capacity has declined from the peak generation of about 4,517.6 megawatts (MW) in December 2012 to about 3,670 megawatts (MW) in January 2014.

This occurred in a period when the forecast for electricity generation was placed at 12,800MW. On a per capita consumption analysis, Nigeria is ranked a paltry 178th with 106.21 KWh per head, behind other African countries like Gabon and Ghana.

The reasons for the gulf in supply-demand range from old dilapidated plants (at least 80 percent are over 10 years old), challenges with access to funds by organizations that recently acquired PHCN subsidiaries and poor gas supply to power generating plants

Furthermore, setting prices for consumers that promote efficient use of electricity is a challenge as costs vary across times of day (peak/off-peak), seasons (dry/rainy), users (commercial/residential), and geographic areas (urban/rural). Electricity prices in Nigeria are below production costs, therefore the industry is unable to generate enough revenue to cover its operating costs.

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With the aim of monitoring the progress made so far in the power sector reforms in Nigeria, NOIPolls introduced the Power Polls in 2013 to explore the perception of Nigerians towards the power sector reforms. The polls were conducted monthly to explore the amount of power supply received daily and expenditure on power supply, as well as the state of power supply to households and its effect to consumers especially in the use of alternative sources of power and its financial implications. The results from the polls are presented in quarters from Q1 2013 to Q1 2015

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