The inability of the Federal Government to guarantee stable electrify supply has made Nigeria one of the highest importer of various brands of generators as alternative source of electricity supply to homes and industries.
Recent statistics on Genset Import/Export Trade released by the United Nations Statistics Division, indicated that Nigeria imported 75-375 KVA diesel generating sets valued over US$51 million (about N10 billion) to power the country’s factories, telecommunication towers, homes and offices between 2014 and 2015.
The study showed that manufacturers of generators, the ilk of General Electric, Cummins, FG .Wilsons; Siemens, and other major power firms, imported different brands of generators worth $51.055 million into the country during the years under review – 2014 to 2015. The study projected that the figure may hit $450 million by 2020.
Analysis of the data showed that Nigeria is the second biggest market for generator merchandise in Africa, while Egypt is leading with generator import of $58.6 million. Ethiopia queues behind with $19.9 million; South Africa $18.6 million and Congo $6.9 million; others in the African rating include: Zimbabwe $5.4 million, Niger $5.3 million and Mozambique $4.4 million.
The study showed that the rising demand for generators is stimulated by protracted epileptic power supply to industries and homes despite the privatisation of the power sector by the Federal Government.
High demand is coming from manufacturers, especially in the Food, Beverage and cement industries; telecommunication, banks, real estate and construction firms.
It was indicated that unreliable power supply from the National Grids, compelled some producers, such as Lafarge, Dangote, Nestle, Pz Cussons; Nigerian Breweries Plc, Cadbury, etc, to invest massively in self generating plants.
This was said to have created excess of 700 megawatts to sell to consumers through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC.
It was gathered that Lafarge Africa Plc built a 90 MW plant, which is used mainly for its cement operations in Nigeria, and is adding 220 megawatt (MW) gas-fired power plant at it Ewekoro, Ogun State, to boost electricity supplies to plants and host communities. The plant supplies about 40 MW of excess power. It is expected that once the new plant is built about 260 MW will go to the national grid under a power purchase agreement approved by the NERC.
Dangote Cement Plc also invested a $95 million on three gas turbines generating 102 megawatts; it was built by Siemens International to power its Ibese Cement plant in Ogun state, while the excess will be added to the grid. Nestle Nigeria Plc, also invested in N3.6 billion Tri-generation Power Plant at Agbara factory generates electrical power runs on diesel or natural gas.