Solar now after your traditional market shares, Fashola tells Nigeria’s power operators

Nigeria’s power minister, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, on Monday told traditional operators in the country’s power market that solar power was fast coming after their market shares and would soon end their dominance of electricity supplies to most homes in the country.

Reacting to a lawsuit filed by some power generation companies against the government of the country and some of its agencies in the sector, Fashola, told operators at a meeting in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom state, that solar panels were increasingly been mounted on rooftops of Nigerian homes, indicating consumers had opted to go off the grid and generate their electricity from the sun.

He noted that the message in this was that consumers were tired of the operational inefficiencies of the grid power market and would embrace solar power as an alternative.

Miffed by the operators’ decision to institute a lawsuit against the government for paying in full the invoices of two operators who have legally-backed agreements for their monthly invoices to be paid in full by the country’s bulk electricity trading company – the NBET, amongst other complaints, Fashola, said the 2013 power privatization exercise and other accompanying legislations have opened up the sector for independent power procurements.

He said people could procure up to 1 megawatts of power for use without regulatory licenses.

“I will close by imploring those that are truly ready to run the business they have acquired voluntarily to continue to do so with the assurance of Government support and partnership.

“As for those who entered the business without understanding it, please brace up for hard work and help us rebuild this country.

“Those who choose to hide temporarily in the courts of law can do so, but the court of public opinion will scrutinize you and its verdict may be very scathing, unkind, and enduring,” he said.

According to him: “I say this because you may not have noticed that Nigerians are increasingly taking their destiny in their hands.

“This is the essence of privatization. If you bother to look up and around you, you will see solar panels on rooftops. The mini grid regulations allow them to procure 1MW without license. This is bigger than what many traditional generators supply. There is no law that compels them to take public power. I am not afraid of the law courts, and will meet you there to vigorously defend our position.”