Power Distribution Companies in Nigeria

Power Distribution in Nigeria – For so long, Nigerians have pondered on the current state of power distribution in Nigeria and what is responsible for the inadequate power supply.

For years, Nigerians have not enjoyed a stable power supply in spite of the massive investment in power distribution.

Power Distribution in Nigeria 2020
Power distribution plant

This article explores the issues that have hindered power distribution in Nigeria and suggest means of tackling them.

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History of Power Distribution in Nigeria

Power distribution and generation began in Nigeria, historically, in 1886, when two sets of power generators were installed to distribute electricity to the then Lagos colony.

In successive years, a law was passed in 1951 for the creation of a body called the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria.

In 1961, to exploit hydroelectricity, a law was passed to establish the Nigerian Dams Authority.

In 1972, a merger took place between the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria and the Nigeria Dams Authority, and this led to the National Electricity Power Authority, popularly known as NEPA. NEPA was solely in charge of the generation and distribution of power.

The Power Holding Corporation of Nigeria was established by the Obasanjo government, after dismantling NEPA. Power Holding Corporation decentralised the process of power distribution in Nigeria and put in place generation companies numbering up to six, power distribution companies numbering up to eleven and a single company responsible for power transmission.

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As a result of the decentralisation of NEPA, a Nigerian agency called the Bureau of Public Enterprises made progress with a plan to privatise the Nation’s power sector. CPCS Transcom Limited was tasked with playing an advisory role to the government on the most seamless way to achieve full privatisation.

At the end of the process, a body called the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) was established while PHCN seized to exist. The NERC has to supervise, monitor and regulate the Nigerian power sector. It is also tasked with making sure there is adequate acquiescence to best global practices.

This post will revolve around what Nigeria has achieved in the aspect of power distribution, generation and transmission over the last decade.

Analysis of Power Generation in Nigeria

Power Distribution in Nigeria 2020
Sapele Power Plc

The country generates its power using hydroelectrical and thermal power plants.  According to Wikipedia, power generation in Nigeria is carried out by eight power generation companies, viz:

Company Type Capacity
Kainji Jebba Power Plc Hydro 1,330 MW
Ughelli Power Plc Gas 942 MW
Sapele Power Plc Gas 1,020 MW
Shiroro Power Plc Hydro 600 MW
Afam Power Plc gas 987.2 MW
Niger Delta Power Holding Company gas 5,455 MW
IPP’s gas 1,392 MW
Egbin Power Plc Gas 1,020 MW

It is important to note that there are up to twenty-three grid-connected power generation plants currently operating in Nigeria.

This can be categorised under these plants, and the installed capacity of these plants is about 10,396 MW, while the Nation’s hydroelectrical plant manages close to 2,000 MW.

Power distribution in Nigeria

Power distribution is a very crucial stage in the electrical process. It is where electrical power is delivered to the final consumers, which is you and me.

In Nigeria, there are eleven Power Distribution Companies ( popularly referred to as DisCOs), and they are given the task of distributing electricity to their various districts.

They are primarily involved in electricity retailing.

Wikipedia lists them as:

Distribution company Districts
Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company Kaduna including the areas of Makera, Doka, Birnin Kebbi, Gusau, Sokoto and Zaria
Yola Electricity Distribution Company Plc Yola, Maiduguri, Taraba and Damaturu districts
Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc Aba, Abakaliki, Abakpa, Awka, Ogui, Onitsha, Owerri, Nnewi, and Umuahia
Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc Abuja, Minna, Suleja, Lokoja and Lafia Districts
Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc Abeokuta, Dugbe, Molete, Ijebu-Ode, Osogbo, Ilorin, Sango-Ota and Oyo
Jos Electricity Distribution Company Plc Jos, Makurdi, Bauchi and Gombe districts
Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc Festac, Ijora, Lagos Island, Ajah, and Badagry
Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company Plc Lagos, Shomolu, Alimosho, Ojodu, Ikorodu, Oshodi and Abule-Egba
Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company Plc Calabar, Diobu, Ikom/Ogoja, Borikiri, Uyo and Yenegoa
Benin Electricity Distribution Company Plc Ado-Ekiti, Afenonesan, Akure, Asaba, Akpakpava, ‘ Ugbowo and Warri
Kano Electricity Distribution Company Plc Nassarawa, Dala, Katsina, Dutse, Kumbotso, Funtua and Dakota districts


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Functions of Power Distribution Companies in Nigeria

Here are some of the functions of the Power Distribution Companies:

  • The primary function of Nigeria’s Power Distribution Companies is to process the power supply using its network of distributions to provide electricity to customers within its operational area.
  • Power Distribution Companies also take care of other support services including installation, maintenance and repair of meters, billing and collection, (dis)connection of customers and maintenance of distribution network.
  • Discos do not generate or transmit power but serve as the last mile of operation that connects the power supply from the source to the customers.
  • Revenue collection and remittances are also the duty of distribution companies in Nigeria.
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How to better the operation of Power Distribution Companies in Nigeria?

Here is how to improve the operation of Power Distribution Companies in Nigeria:

  • There is a need for the provision of an adequate gas pricing framework.
  • The Nigerian government has a duty to put in place an effort to resolve and limit the operations of gas pipeline vandals.
  • The transmission network needs to be maintained and upgraded frequently to prevent frequent power disruptions, unstable electricity and grid supply.

Conclusively, it is evident that the power generation and distribution situation in Nigeria needs improvement. The government needs to make a massive investment in the power sector.

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