A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Power supply worsened at peak of privatisation – Poll

Energy efficient bulbOscarline Onwuemenyi

24 January 2014, Abuja – Latest power poll results released by NOIPolls Limited have revealed that although power supply to households worsened in the fourth quarter of last year, nevertheless majority of Nigerians (70%) are hopeful about the on-going reform in the power sector.

More findings revealed that an average of 46% of Nigerians received between 1-4 hours of continuous power supply daily, while 17% said they have received absolutely “No Light” in their households. These were the key findings from the Power Snap Poll conducted in Quarter 4 (Q4), 2013.

In late 2013, the Nigerian power sector saw an achievement of a milestone as the privatisation process, initiated to reform the power sector was taken to the next level.

This involved the final hand over of 11 power distribution and five generation companies, created out of PHCN which was regulated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC), to their private owners on behalf of the Federal Government. This implies that in the new era for the power sector, privately owned generating companies will sell directly to distribution companies, which finally gets power to consumers.

The findings from the power poll have revealed that majority of Nigerians reported power supply remains bad or has worsened, an average 33% indicated some improvement and above 22% reported no difference in power supply.

Further findings have shown that the last phase of the privatization process has stimulated great expectations about the power sector reforms among the majority of Nigerians. Due to past and current challenges faced in the power sector, the total reformation may be a gradual process with a succession of milestones to be achieved. One of which would be the increase of total power currently being generated which will directly result in improved power supply to households.

NOIPolls introduced the Power Polls in April 2013 with the aim of monitoring the progress made so far in the power sector reforms in Nigeria as well as to explore the perception of Nigerians towards the power sector reforms, the amount of power supply received daily and expenditure on alternative sources of power.

In order to highlight the trends in power supply over the last quarter of 2013, respondents were asked the following question: How would you describe power in your area in the past 1 month? An assessment of the state of power supply in Q4 (averages of all 3 months) revealed that the majority; Av:45% (31% +14%) of Nigerians reported power supply remains bad or has worsened, Av:33%(30% +3%) indicated some improvement and Av:22% reported no difference in power supply.

In addition, October (36%) recorded the highest proportion of respondents who experienced little improvement, November (25%) had the highest proportion of respondents who did not experience any difference in the state of power.

A review of the state of power for the year 2013 shows that power supply was best in the first quarter and worse in the last quarter. This is evident on the fact that Q1 recorded the highest proportion of respondents who gave a positive report (40%: 33%+7%) and Q4 has the highest proportion of respondents (which also represents the majority) that gave a negative report (45%: 31%+14%) on power. A further trend analysis shows a 4-point decline in the proportion of respondents that claimed power supply improved very much from Q3 (7%) to Q4 (3%) and 5-Point increase in the proportion that claimed power supply remains bad from Q3 (26%) to Q4 (31%). These figures reveal that the power worsened in the fourth quarter which also ushered in a new era for the power sector.

Furthermore, a regional appraisal of power in 2013 reveals that the North-East zone is the most affected zone with poor power supply as it recorded the highest proportion of respondents that claimed power supply remains bad and has gone worse in three quarters; Q1(39%), Q2(61%) and Q4(59%).

In addition, the South-East zone had the best power report in the first 2 quarters as it recorded the highest proportion of respondents who experienced an improvement in Q1 (46%) and Q2 (41%) while the best power report in the last two quarters of 2013 was obtained in the South-South zone as it recorded the highest proportion of respondents that experienced an improvement in the state of power in Q3 (47%) and Q4 (43%).

A nine months review revealed a continuous decline in the duration of hours of continuous power supply received by the majority of Nigerian households from Q2 to Q4. This is evident on the fact that there was a total 4-point decline in the proportion of Nigerians that receive 5-9 hours of power supply from Q2 (23%) and Q4 (19%) as well as a corresponding 3-point total increase in the proportion of Nigerians that receive 1-4 hours of power supply from Q2 (43%) to Q4 (46%).

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