Businesses spend N5trn yearly on generators

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Businesses in the country spend an estimated $14 billion (about N5 trillion) annually importing, fuelling and maintaining generators, the Executive Director, Rural Electrification Funds at the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Mr Sanusi Ohiare has said.

In his presentation on off grid and mini grid goals of the agency, at the recent 4th National Council on Power (NACOP) in Benin City, Edo state Dr. Ohiare said, “We thought that if we wanted to replace these technologies which is not efficient in terms of cost; if we wanted to go for cleaner and sustainable energy from renewable sources, we have potentially an investment of about $9.2bn annually (about N3.2trn).”

He said the agency sees this challenge as an opportunity for investments to provide access to cheaper electricity.

“We want to channel that generator investment into renewables. There is a high potential for scaling up mini grids which is creating independent generation and distribution in different places especially in rural areas,” Ohiare explained.

As part of efforts to promote increased access to electricity, REA in 2017 began processes to energise various markets in Nigeria in what it terms Energising Economies Programme. The projects include about 37,000 shops at the Ariaria market in Aba, Abia state; Sabon gari market in Kano state; Sura Shopping Complex and Shomolu Printing community in Lagos state.

Speaking for the DisCos, the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy at the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Chief Sunday Oduntan said investors of the distribution firms have their expansion plan to extend electricity to un-served rural areas.

He said it is part of its business continuity plan which is approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) as Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) for the first five years after the privatisation of the sector in 2013.

President of the Sustainable Energy Practitioners Association of Nigeria (SEPAN), Dr. Magnus Onuoha has urged government to provide the enabling environment to deploy solar to tackle defect in energy access.

In his presentation at a technical session during the four day programme, the Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr Usman Gur Mohammed spoke on projections for transmission infrastructure delivery in Nigeria to raise energy wheeling capacity from the present 7,124 megawatts (MW).

He said, “When we came to TCN last year February, TCN was the weakest link in the power sector value chain. We worked very hard to reposition TCN and we are no more the weakest link.

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Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.