5 reasons behind the frequent power outages in Nigeria even in 2024

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Known locally as “NEPA taking light,” after the former Nigerian Electric Power Authority, power disruptions have a great impact on daily life, affecting everything from household chores to business operations.

In a country where electricity is necessary for development and quality of life, understanding the reasons behind these frequent outages is essential.

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The history of Nigeria’s power sector is marked by several transitions. Initially managed by NEPA, the sector underwent a significant change in 2005 with the formation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). This move was part of efforts to privatise and improve the efficiency of the power sector. Despite these changes, many challenges persist, leading to ongoing power supply issues.

Here are some common reasons for power outages in Nigeria:

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Ageing equipment: Much of Nigeria’s power infrastructure is old and in dire need of upgrades. This ageing equipment is prone to breakdowns, causing frequent outages.

Lack of maintenance: Regular maintenance is essential for any infrastructure, but it is often lacking in Nigeria, leading to equipment failures and prolonged outages​.

Generation capacity vs. demand: Nigeria’s power generation capacity is significantly lower than the demand. With a population exceeding 210 million, the country needs around 30,000 megawatts of electricity daily but generates only about 4,000 megawatts​.

Electricity challenges in Nigeria [Medium]

Transmission and distribution losses: Even the power that is generated doesn’t reach consumers due to losses in transmission and distribution systems, further worsening the problem​​.

Funding shortages: The power sector suffers from chronic underfunding. Issues like unpaid debts to gas suppliers and inadequate investment in infrastructure make it difficult to maintain a stable power supply​.

Economic factors: Economic instability, coupled with poor tariff regulations, affects the ability of power companies to operate efficiently and invest in necessary improvements​.

Weather conditions: Nigeria’s power infrastructure is vulnerable to weather-related disruptions. Heavy rains, storms, and floods can damage power lines and substations, leading to outages​.

Heavy rain storm can damage power lines [Quora]