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In order to achieve universal access to electricity, Nigeria will have to connect between 500,000 to 800,000 new households to electricity every year between 2018 and 2030.

The World Bank highlighted this in a recent draft report of its environment and social systems assessment (ESSA) of the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP) – a project it is working on with the federal government, which THISDAY obtained in Abuja.

The report stated: “The government’s target is to achieve 75% electrification by 2025, which would require doubling the number of households with connections by that date. To achieve universal access to electricity by 2030, Nigeria would need to connect between 500,000 to 800,000 households per year.

“Both grid extension and off-grid solutions will be needed to provide quality services to the unserved and underserved households and businesses in a timely manner.”

Inaccurate data

According to the report, the number of citizens that have electricity meters connected to their consumption points were unclear, noting that the 11 electricity distribution companies (discos) have figures that are different from what the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has, THISDAY reported.

“Nigeria had 9.5 million electricity customers in 2016 (NERC projection). The number of customers per disco varies widely, from 345,000 (Yola) to 1,750,000 (Ibadan).

“The true number of customers is not accurately known; however, discos’ own figures for their tariff revision submissions totalled 6.49 million customers, while the latest household survey in 2015/16 estimates that around 19 million households have some access to electricity,” the bank said.

Levels of electricity access

The study uncovers that Nigeria has the second largest access deficit in the world, with India taking first place. “With about 80 million people lacking access to grid electricity, Nigeria has the largest access deficit in sub-Saharan Africa and the second largest in the world, after India.

“Up to 83.6% of the urban population had access while only 39.1% of the rural population did. Similarly, the connection rate ranges from 26.7% in the north east to 82.4% in the south-south zone.

“Levels of access to electricity also vary between the states, from close to universal access in Lagos to about 11% in Taraba. Thirteen states have levels of access below 40%. This can be compared with the incidence of absolute poverty in each state.”

Citing the bank’s study, THISDAY reported that electricity customers in Nigeria’s power market fall into four categories of residential; commercial; industrial; and public, adding that residential customers accounted for about 59% of electricity consumed, while commercial consumers accounted for about 19% and industrial customers accounted for about 7%.

“The relatively small share of electricity consumed by industrial customers may be related to the prevalence of own-generation by industrial businesses. Among households, electricity access is still limited in Nigeria,” stated the report.