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Electricity in Nigeria – Causes Poor Power Supply, and Possible Solutions

Crazy bills!

Large sums of money spent on fuel and generators.

Four in five Nigerians have a generator set (which usually develops a technical fault when they need it most).

Make of that what you will.

But it seems to me that –that little statistic above is the closest we can get to the true state of power supply in Nigeria.

Read Also: TCN restores electricity supply after fire incident

Electricity in Nigeria – Causes Poor Power Supply, and Possible Solutions
Electricity in Nigeria – Photo Source:

In the last two decades, over $20 billion dollars has been spent on electricity in Nigeria. If you can’t see how much of an improvement in power supply Nigerians have enjoyed since then, you need to see your doctor!

The biggest oil producer in Africa has gone from…

  1. The Electricity corporation of Nigeria, to
  2. The Niger Dams Authority, to…
  3. The National Electricity Power Authority, to…
  4. The Power Holding Company of Nigeria to…
  5. The privatization of power and unbundling of PHCN into the transmission company of Nigeria (TCN), generating companies (GENCOS) and distribution companies (DISCOS)…..

Read Also: 7 Functions of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission

Nigeria has come a long way in her wild unyielding romance with electricity.

Having an alternative source of power supply (Generators, solar panels, inverters) is as important as having a bank account.

Because if you don’t have one, you’ll have a hard time getting by in this country –whether as an individual or a business.

And it doesn’t matter what part of Nigeria you reside in, the only Nigerian who can truly honestly boast of 16-hours of stable uninterrupted power supply is that man or woman financially buoyant enough to use an alternative power source 24/7/365…

Without Sweating!

Like every other problem, and all the other vagaries of human life, there are reasons power supply remains epileptic. But chief among these causes of poor power supply in Nigeria, as you and I might guess, is a lack of will from the government.

And you know, when a problem persists for so long without any visible changes, logic suggests that there’s a tiny circle of very powerful people who are making a fortune from the continued existence of that problem.

Think about it.

Not every Nigerian has a car.

But almost every Nigerian (individual or business) has a generator that runs at least once a day. Then multiply that by the amount of money spent on fuel daily and it just becomes obvious that if power is fixed, someone somewhere will be losing a lot of money.

Read Also: 8 Functions of Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency NEMSA

Did you know?

That over 75% of the fuel consumption in Nigeria goes to generators?

What’s the status of power supply in Nigeria?

Consider the fact that a hospitality (hotel) business in Ikeja (Lagos) gets to run on four generators daily, -with an average expense of =N=150,000/day…….

Then you have your answer.

But why?

Why is power supply in Nigeria so backasswards?

I might have a few ideas (I almost always do) and here they are…

  1. Deep-seated corruption
  2. Poor policy initiatives
  3. Obsolete electricity facilities
  4. Lack of modern equipment
  5. Gas supply shortages
  6. Vandalism
  7. Non-existent electricity asset protection/security framework.
  8. Appalling maintenance culture
  9. Poor management of hydropower stations
  10. Huge metering gap
  11. Outrageously estimated electricity bills
  12. Limited distribution networks
  13. Electricity distribution companies operating at a loss
  14. Electricity theft

And so on.

You know, power supply in Nigeria just seems to keep going from bad to worse and if you’re wondering why it never really gets better over a sustained period of time, the following little known bottleneck should interest you.

Not all generated electricity is consumed.

The DISCOS (distribution companies) actually return or reject a reasonable chunk of electricity from the GENCOS (generating companies). And the reason isn’t that complicated.

The DISCOS don’t want the electricity transmitted to areas where there are not enough transformers or cables to further distribute to consumers and when this happens.

Read Also: How To Become An Electrician In Nigeria

The Electricity that should normally get to Nigerians is turned back.

Too bad!

The Transmission Company of Nigeria just doesn’t have enough capacity to transmit (to the DISCOS) the electricity that has been generated by the GENCOS.

If you’ve noticed, nothing has been said yet about Nigerians cooperating with the various electricity distribution companies by paying bills as at when due.

Well, why should they?

  1. When the bills are outrageously estimated?
  2. When most consumers aren’t even metered?
  • When getting a prepaid meter is as difficult as bringing the dead back to life?
  1. And when the power supply is hardly ever sustained?


The problem of poor power supply in Nigeria is as old as humanity itself.  And you can only imagine how easy it is to proffer solutions on paper and then step right back into the very darkness we hate to talk about.

Less talk, more action!

Stable power supply is key to sustainable growth and development, and until the average Nigerian can boast of at least 12hours of uninterrupted power supply daily, things will only get worse.

Nigeria can only truly experience a radical transformation of her economy when power supply is fixed for good!

If you’ve ever wondered why China has one of the highest GDP’s in the world, you might want to consider the fact that her per capita consumption of electricity is around 3,927.04 KW (based on 2o14 CEIC data).

Anyway, how do you solve the electricity needs of over 190million people?

A few suggestions:

  • Improved maintenance culture
  • Constant and regular training of practicing engineers
  • Expansion of transmission lines (of what use is generating 70,000MW if you cannot adequately transmit it to consumers?)
  • Adequate security
  • Renewable energy
  • Make the power sector attractive to deep-pocketed investors
  • Full privatization of power
  • An open bidding system where investors are allowed to control generation, transmission and distribution of power with the Nigerian government simply playing a regulatory role
  • Generating companies can even be availed the opportunity to generate and transmit electricity (see how that works).
  • Strict penalties for vandals and saboteurs of electricity facilities
  • Diversification of electricity generation (Wind, solar rather than just hydro)

Let’s not kid ourselves, there’s a very strong link between per capita consumption of electricity in Nigeria, and the current state of her economic growth.

It’s just simple logic that the more energy consumed per Nigerian, the more business-friendly the environment becomes to investors, and the natural result of course, is an increase in employment and a reduction in the rate of poverty.

Read Also: How to Start Electrical Business in Nigeria

Look, I am tired.

I’ve had enough of going back and forth about the many problems bedeviling Nigeria, so I’ve decided to write about money in my next article.

Until then, don’t pay single dime to any electricity distribution company that has failed to give you a prepaid meter even after repeated applications.

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Andy Mukolo

Andy Mukolo is one of the best direct-response copywriters in Nigeria. He's also a very passionate content developer who works with InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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