Coordinator, ‘Power Africa ’Mr Andrew Herscowitz, – a United States Energy Initiative, has reaffirmed the longstanding commitment of the U.S. to improving power in Nigeria.
Herscowitz said in a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy on Friday in Abuja his country’s support was already “making a difference” in the troubled sector in Nigeria.
The coordinator, who was on a three-day visit to Nigeria, spoke at the stakeholders’ forum of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company on the sector’s challenges and how to modernise and make its operations more efficient.
He said that “Power Africa’’, through USAID, would provide direct management and technical support to Abuja, Benin, and Eko Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to implement an aggressive management plan to boost their efficiency and cash flow.
“Power Africa will continue its work in Nigeria to increase access to electricity.
“Our commitment to Africa’s growth and development is strong. Our programmes are already making a difference,” Herscowitz said.
According to him, more than half of Nigerians, 95 million people, still do not have access to electricity, and those who are connected to the grid suffer from extensive power outages.
“A lack of reliable and affordable supply of electricity affects every facet of life.
“Well-functioning DISCOs, will not only improve customer’s satisfaction, but also attract more private investments and safeguard generated power from being ‘lost’ or ‘stranded’ by lack of distribution and transmission capacity.
“We have seen that effective management can reduce losses,” he said.
Also, Herscowitz, during his discussions with government officials, legislators, and private sector entities, on many complex issues facing the power industry, reaffirmed the Power Africa’s support for the industry from production to distribution.
The coordinator also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Community Energy Social Enterprises Ltd., a Nigerian firm, and Renewvia Energy Corporation, a U.S. company.
He said that the MoU outlines their cooperation to develop solar micro grids in 25 communities across Nigeria.
“Once fully installed, these facilities will produce approximately five megawatts of electricity and bring power to over 10,000 households.
“Power Africa is also supporting broader reform efforts assisting the Bureau of Public Enterprise during the privatisation of the successor generation and distribution companies and with developing the blueprint for transmission investment.
“Without sufficient transmission capacity and stronger regulatory capacity, increased generation doesn’t mean much.
“Power Africa draws on the combined expertise and abilities of 12 U.S. Government agencies, the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank.
“The governments of Sweden, Norway, Canada, the International Renewable Energy Agency, African governments, and private sector partners,’’ Herscowitz said.