With existing plants in poor state,  infrastructural deficit and a badly structured market, experts in the power sector say it could take up to four years before Nigerians see the results of the recently concluded privatisation of the country’s power sector.

According to an analyst, enumerating upgrade of the current grid levels, metering, transformer edit and training requirements alone would take a while and would delay any improvements to power supply, BusinessDay reported

“It would take considerable time to train competent people, ascertain the actual number of consumers and carry out several upgrades”, he said.

Director General of the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), Reuben Okeke,  reaffirmed this, advising Nigerians not  to expect any significant improvement in power supply as there were no shortcuts to achieving stable power delivery.

Challenges in the Nigeria’s power sector resulting in years of power outages and unreliable service, paved the way for an ambitious privatization program, which saw the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) into a series of 18 successor companies: six generation companies and 11 distribution companies covering all 36 states, and a national power transmission company.

Although this was met with mixed reactions, majority are optimistic that the privatisation of the power sector will solve incessant blackouts in Africa’s most populous nation.

“I strongly believe that this privatization will eventually solve the country’s power sector problems”, entrepreneur coach Nneka Azuka remarked when asked what she thinks of the privatization process.

According to Ernest Eleodinmuo, an engineer, “privatisation may not solve all our [Nigeria’s] problems, but it will help to save the end users from unnecessary and unfair billings.” 

Whether the new owners of PHCN’s assets will deliver is not clear. However, privatisation, which has worked in other sectors, may turn out to be the solution, especially considering the track record of some of the consortium buyers and the personalities associated with them.

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