July 15, 2024
Inaugural power sector awards hold as experts celebrate gains of electricity reforms so far
– By Godswill Odiong

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By Eyo Nsima

Despite some challenges, experts in the power sector have identified increased generation capacity, establishment of a legal and regulatory framework, Service Based Tariffs, Mini-grid regulations, Meter Asset Provider Regulations and the Presidential Power Initiative in collaboration with Siemens as the gains of Nigeria’s electricity reforms.

The experts, including investors, consultants and government officials, identified the gains, at the just-concluded Nigeria Power Sector Awards, NPSA, in Abuja.

Speaking at the event, the Special Adviser to the President on Power and Infrastructure, Engr. Ahmed Zakari, said the government has taken bold steps to address issues, which culminated in the sector increasing generation capacity to about 17,000 megawatts, MW, from about 13,000MW.
He said the feat would not have been achieved without much commitment from every stakeholder, stressing that teamwork would be required in moving the sector forward.

Similarly, the former Minister of Power, Prof. Bat Nnaji, said the main idea behind privatization was to attract investors with technical and financial resources into developing privatized assets.
He said: The government wanted companies that would have the technical and financial capacity to impact the sector. For instance, if the procured asset has the capacity to generate 900MW, but could only generate 200MW, we expected the investor to invest resources and increase the capacity to 900MW.
“We also expected the Electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos, to invest their resources targeted at building networks, distribution lines, and prepaid meters in order to enhance supply to consumers.”

Also speaking, the Chairman of, the Organising Committee, NPSA 2022, Mr. Odion Omonfoman, who disclosed that the Electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos, have also executed innovative projects, targeted at improving supply to several communities, said: “There is no need to reiterate how important electricity and the power sector is to our lives and livelihoods as individuals and businesses. However, with an average daily generation output of 4000MW, and Renewable Energy is just a tiny component of that mix, the power sector isn’t where we believe it should be. Those who drafted and implemented the electricity reforms and subsequent privatization exercise must certainly, be disappointed that the sector hasn’t reached the famous Eldorado.

“But we also cannot deny that there hasn’t been progress as well, no matter how minuscule or small we imagine the progress in the sector to be. In my view, and you may of course not agree, progress has been made across the power sector value chain. For instance, we have seen progress in setting up a legal and regulatory framework for the sector. Innovative regulations like Service Based Tariffs, Mini-grid regulations, and Meter Asset Provider Regulations have no doubt improved electricity supply and overall customer satisfaction to an extent. There has been progress in improving generation, even stabilizing generation output at 4000MW is part of the little progress. We see improvements in the transmission sector with more stability of the National grid.

“The Presidential Power Initiative in collaboration with Siemens is significant progress in the transmission segment. We have experienced improvements in the Distribution segment, where innovative projects by some DisCos have seen several communities enjoy almost near reliable 24 hours electricity supply. There have been payment innovations and better customer services as well. We have moved from queuing for hours with our meter cards and wads of Naira notes at PHCN offices, to paying our energy bills from the comfort of our homes and phones.

“More importantly, there is a lot of progress in the Renewable Energy/offgrid space, with the leadership of the Rural Electrification Agency and her partners driving progress in that segment. Development partners such as USAID/Power Africa, the UKNAIF, GIZ, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and other development partners continue to support the sector from an investment perspective and the implementation of reforms and policies that will engender more improvements.

“We have seen State governments now more determined to improve electricity access to their citizens by creating their own electricity markets and regulatory frameworks outside of the National grid system. Innovative PPP projects such as the Ossiomo IPP projects, the Aba IPP projects and other similar projects give an indication of the direction of the Power Sector is headed in the future.
“All of these little improvements won’t have been possible without the involvement of Financial Institutions and Investors to take the investment risks and provide the much-needed capital in the form of either debt or equity. The Central Bank of Nigeria must be applauded for its innovative structuring of long-term funding to the sector, through deposit money banks and in collaboration with the NERC. The Core Investors in the Successor PHCN companies are part of the little progress we make reference to.”

Mr. Omonfoman, said the feats deserve recognition, adding it would also inspire more positive growth and change the narrative of the sector.
In a statement sent to the media, the organizers stated that some awards were presented to a few individuals for their immense contributions and achievements, including the Posthumous award to the late Joseph Oyeyani Makoju, former chief executive officer of National Electric Power Authority, and special adviser on power to three presidents.

It stated that the ‘Leadership and Excellence Award in the Power Sector’ was presented to Ahmad Zakari, special adviser to the President on infrastructure; the ‘Trailblazer Award in the Power Sector’ was presented to Abubakar Aliyu, minister of power while the Lifetime achievement Award was presented to former President Olusegun Obasanjo; Godwin Emefiele; governor, Central Bank of Nigeria; Barth Nnaji, former minister of power and founder of Geometric Power Limited/Aba Power IPP; and Kola Adesina, executive director, Sahara Energy Group.

Other award winners included: Azura Power West Africa, Mainstream Energy Limited (Jebba), Ikeja Electric, Ikeja Electric, and BuyPower, which emerged winners as Thermal Power Generation Company of the Year; Hydroelectric Power Generation Company of the Year; Electricity Distribution Company of the Year; Most Gender Diverse Utility Company and Most Innovative FINTECH Company of the Year respectively.

They included, MOJEC International Limited, Crossboundary / Engie, Geregu Power Plc (Share Listing on the NGX), Niger Delta Power Holding Company Ltd (Lafia Transmission Sub-station Project), Olaniwun Ajayi LP / KONEXA ECOF, Havenhill Synergy, and DayStar Power Energy Solutions, which emerged winners in Metering Company of the Year; Transaction of the year (Renewable Energy/ Off-grid); Transaction of the year (Generation); Transaction/Project of the year (Transmission); Transaction of the year (Distribution); Mini-Grid Project Developer of the Year and C & I Developer of the Year respectively.
They also included, the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Bank of Industry, Edo State Government, Axxela Limited, Ossiomo IPP Edo State, Fidelity Bank Plc, and USAID/Power Africa that emerged as the Public Sector Organization of the Year; Development Finance Institution of the Year; Best State Government in the Power Sector; Gas Supply Company of the Year; Independent Power Producer (Captive); Bank/Financial Institution of the Year and Most Impactful International Development Agency of the Year respectively.

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