GERMAN engineering giant Siemens has asked the federal government to allow it venture into the Nigerian power sector by acquiring some of the regional electricity distribution companies known locally as Discos.
Nigeria currently suffers from epileptic power supply as the sector is plagued with companies that lack the capacity to deliver. Currently, the nation only generates about 13,000MW of electricity of the 40,000MW required and even of this figure, only 3,000MW is currently being distributed, leading to most Nigerians having to provide their own electricity through the use of private generators.
Many of the Discos lack the capital to invest in equipment like transformers, meaning that several of them cannot deliver generated power allocated to them. Seeing the opportunity for major investment, Siemens has proposed that it be allowed to take charge of power generation, transmission and distribution across Nigeria.
Saleh Mamman, Nigeria’s minister of power, said whereas the country currently generates 13,000MW of electricity, it transmits 7,000MW to Discos while the distribution companies can only distribute 3,000MW to end users. He added that the Discos have continued to demonstrate a show of incapacity, inefficiency and dishonesty in the distribution of power to consumers despite the huge investments made into the sector by the federal government since the privatisation of the power sector in 2013.
Mr Mamman regretted that even when the discos receive 3,000MW, they short-change the system by paying for only 1,000MW, threatening that the federal government could no longer continue to subsidise their inefficiency. He added that the proposal to hand over power distribution to Siemens was contained in a Memorandum of Understanding that he submitted to the Federal Executive Council yesterday.
“What I want to say is that most of the problems we are facing in this country is that we cannot get electricity supplied adequately and efficiently and this is because we have a problem in distribution. On generation, there is no more problem.
“We can generate up to 13,006MW but the transmission, those who are taking the electricity supply can only take 7,000MW, even at that, they are not taking the whole 7,000MW but only 4,500MW and then send for distribution. The Discos in turn receives only 3,000MW and because of technical and commercial reasons, they cannot contain the whole power that has been generated,” he added.