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Electricity Failure In Nigeria: History Causes Effects And Possible Solutions -By Chukwuebuka O. Adaeze


A 100-level student of the Faculty of Law, Delta State University.


For several years till date, Nigeria has struggled with the problem of electricity failure.

Since 2000, it is no longer new seeing modernised cities and rural areas in a state of darkness. Though efforts through reform actions was made by the government, the situation became as pathetic as it is now.



As at 1896, the Nigerian government started brought the idea to establish electricity generation and by 1929, first utility company known as, The Nigerian Utility Company, was established.

By the year 2000, a state-owned monopoly, the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) controller the transmission and distribution of electric power in Nigeria.

It functioned as a vertical integrated utility company and a total generation capacity of about six thousand, two hundred (6,200) MW from two (2) hydro and four (4) thermal power plants. This resulted in an unstable and unreliable electric power supply situation in the country as customers were exposed to frequent power cuts and long period of power outages and an industry characterised by lack of maintenance of power infrastructure, outdated power plants, low revenues, high losses, power theft and non-cost reflective tariffs.

By the year 2000, governments reforms with the goal of establishing an efficient electricity market, began in Nigeria.

It had the overall objective of privatizing the ownership, the management of the infrastructure and assets of the electricity industry, with the consequent creation of all the necessary structures required to forming and sustaining an electricity market in Nigeria.

To accomplish that purpose, in 2005, the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act was enacted and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) was established as an independent regulatory body for the electricity industry in Nigeria.¹



The causes of electricity cannot be over-emphasised as they have been proved beyond reasonable doubts and statistics, they are as follows:

1. Over-population and Over-consumption: 

These two go hand-in-hand, because, an over-populated area will consume more than calculated. According to statistics, Nigeria is the most populated country with more than one hundred and eighty million (180,000,000) people. From this, we can deduce that electric power amounting to five thousand (5000) MW is being generated periodically.

2. Aging Infrastructure: 

The use of old, broken, faulty, spoilt electrical materials contributes immensely to the epileptic condition of electricity failure in Nigeria. Unnecessary management of aging infrastructure, (as old materials can not function properly, neither can they take on heavy duties with breaking down) has lead to the ‘blackouts’ of today.

3. Energy waste:

Waste are inevitable as some materials, for example, electricity cannot be harnessed for future use.

4. Natural disaster:

Natural disasters have historically been at the root of the world’s most severe power outages. Hurricanes, floods, wind storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other severe weather can completely destroy critical power infrastructure and result in outages that will leave towns and cities without power for days, weeks, and even months.

5. Corruption:

The looting of funds put together for power sector reform, with little or no supervision has been identified as the major cause of dwindling electric power supply in Nigeria.


The last but not the least, is government policies, through the increase of electricity bills among others, has contributed to the thriving pathetic situation in many ways.



The effects of power outage on businesses can be catastrophic. Enjoyment of basic social amenities such as quality health care, adequate water supply, telecommunication service, etc becomes limited or even impossible due to long term electrical power outage. Huge revenue loss, business disruptions, laying-off of workers by affected industries, loss of very important records at data centers, wastage of perishable foods, destruction of home appliances, apathy etc, are some of the effects of electrical power crisis.²

Quality and standard education is almost impossible as materials for such, powered by electricity becomes non-existent e.g e-library, school cafe etc, hampering the ability of the students to perform better.



Solar and inverter installations is a solution to the problem of inconsistent electricity supply. It discourages the waste of energy and saves money compared to the cost of fuel for generator. It also reduces noise pollution caused by generators.³ It should be made available and considerably affordable (at present, solar installation might be very expensive if you want a quality service.)

Replacement of aged equipment will go a long way to better the pending situation of electricity scarcity, because when new, good and quality electrical materials i.e quality wires, cables etc are gotten, used in powering electricity the issue of electricity scarcity would be begone.

Proper and adequate maintenance of power equipment. When electrical materials are properly managed, it tends to last longer. Also, electrical materials should be checked to ensure that they are in good conditions periodically.

Anti-corruption measures should be taken by government agencies to nip the problem of corruption and looting of funds meant for power sector reform in the bud.⁴

Citizens involvement and activity in the issue. The citizens has a role to play in bettering the situation, from voicing, writing to peacefully demonstrating to bring to the awareness of the officials and agents in charge, the problem of electricity scarcity for speedy attention which may salvage the situation with lasting results.


If all this, that is – other means of power generation should be explored e.g solar and nuclear power plants, staffs of energy companies should be trained and re-trained, prompt payment of salaries and entitlement of staff of energy companies, government should come up with policies and support systems for effective monitoring and regulation of energy companies and follow-up on these energy policies formulated¹¹ – is brought into consideration and implemented on, the issue of electricity failure is Nigeria would be remedied.



(1) NERC. “History” [On-line]. 1-3. Available: (General Internet site).

(2) S.D. Fabiyi, A.O Abdulmalik, H.A Tamiu. “Dwindling Electrical Power Supply in Nigeria: Causes and Possible Solutions”. International Journal of Science and Research. [On-line]. 2(6), pp. 36-47. Available: (May 5, 2016). (Journal style).

(3) Seyi Sokoya. “How Nigerians can overcome power supply problem-Gbadegesin”. Nigeria Tribune. [On-line]. pp.11. Available: (General Internet Site).

(4) S.D. Fabiyi, A.O Abdulmalik, H.A Tamiu. “Dwindling Electrical Power Supply in Nigeria: Causes and Possible Solutions”. International Journal of Science and Research. [On-line]. 6(6), pp. 12-17. Available: (May 5, 2016). (Journal style).

(11) S.D. Fabiyi, A.O Abdulmalik, H.A Tamiu. “Dwindling Electrical Power Supply in Nigeria: Causes and Possible Solutions”. International Journal of Science and Research. [On-line]. 6(6), pp. 5-23. Available: (May 5, 2016). (Journal style).





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