• Saturday, April 13, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Only 13 million Nigerians registered as electricity customers – TCN

A tariff for boiled frogs for boiled frogs

Ali Bukar Ahmad, the general manager of regulation and compliance at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), shed light on Nigerians and the energy landscape, unveiling concerning statistics and urging concerted efforts towards energy security.

According to Ahmad, in a recent address during the National Institute of Physics webinar Series 2.0, out of Nigeria’s vast population estimated at 230 million, only a fraction, approximately 13,112,134 individuals, are officially registered to utilise electricity.

Highlighting the issue further, Ahmad disclosed that among the registered users, a mere 44.23 percent have been equipped with meters, translating to a paltry 2.52 percent metering coverage across the entire population.

Ahmad said that 60 percent of the customers with meters are bypassing them, exacerbating energy poverty challenges in the country.

Nigeria has been battling a perennial shortage in electricity supply, and bringing millions of its consumers under a more accountable, transparent metering system has remained an even more herculean task over the years.

The government and the power distribution companies have also continued to complain of revenue shortfalls in the sector.

As at September 30, 2023, Nigeria’s metering gap stood at over 7 million – though reports suggest it could be more than that. This is amid frequent grid collapse, which as of today, seems to have defied solutions.

A report by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission shows that out of the total 12,825,005 registered electricity customers, only 5,707,838 have meters, indicating that over 7.1 million registered customers still are subjected to the estimated billing system.

Emphasising the critical link between energy security and national development, Ahmad defined energy security as the consistent and affordable supply of energy. In contrast, energy poverty encompasses the absence of sufficient, quality, and uninterrupted energy supply and its associated services.

Ahmad said, “For a country to be truly independent politically and economically in the 21st century, is to have energy sovereignty and energy independence, and for the sovereignty and independence to be secured at all times and to be backed by the relevant geopolitics.”

Further analysis by Ahmad revealed Nigeria’s vulnerability in the energy sector, attributed to over-reliance on gas, inadequate production capacity, and the unreliability and high gas supply cost.

He pointed out signs of this vulnerability, including deteriorating infrastructure, vandalism, and a shortage of political and financial resources to address these challenges effectively.

In charting a path toward energy security, Ahmad stressed the need to overcome policy, regulatory, and technical shortcomings and bottlenecks. He called for the immediate utilisation of all energy sources across the country and advocated for opening more electricity export and import corridors.

In addition, Ahmad urged the involvement of all tiers of government in electricity supply and encouraged investment in research and documentation by institutions like the NIP to tackle energy security challenges comprehensively.