Nigeria opens electricity transmission to private companies

The West African nation of the Nigeria took a major step toward encouraging the development of broader access to electricity. AllAfrica reports that the Nigerian federal government announced plans to open up the electricity transmission sector to private investment.

Nigeria attempted to spin off the Power Holding Company of Nigeria into a separate energy utility company for each of the 36 states in the country. However, this program proved unfeasible, leaving the country without sufficient resources to adequately develop electrical grids for all its populace.

In response, the Bureau of Public Enterprises announced that it would allow privately controlled electricity grids. The new policy would allow state support, but limits governments from holding more than a 49 percent stake in any project and prevents them from actively managing the companies.

Though these projects would require approval from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, the agency had promised to process such applications rapidly, to allow for faster investments.

The International Energy Agency reports that Nigeria boasted an electrification rate of only 50.6 percent in 2009, leaving 76.4 million residents without access to electricity. That was more than any other country on the continent. As of 2009, the IEA reports that Nigeria had yet to invest in distributed generation sources such as solar power.

PennEnergy's Research area contains databases of global transmission and distribution networks.

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