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Benin Electricity strives to expand power availability

Article - December 10, 2012
Local and foreign investors are the key to further building infrastructure and increasing accessibility throughout the African nation
DR EFFIONG UMOREN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE BENIN ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION COMPANY

One of the nation’s premier energy enterprises, Benin Electricity Distribution Company, has been a key player in the expanding market within this sector. CEO Dr Effiong Umoren currently looks toward foreign investment as an essential component in furthering expansion and reaching increased accessibility in national energy.

“Nigeria has an exceedingly high potential for growth and development. It is an expansive market for investment,” explains Dr Umoren.   

A subsidiary of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Benin Electricity has already experienced significant improvements within the industry including increases in revenue and the available energy reservoir. In fact, power supply has recently increased to an average availability of 18 hours per day, up from 14 hours.

However, Dr Umoren notes that although these improvements are encouraging, 40 per cent of the over 150 million people living in Nigeria are left without power and the nation itself currently only has access to 6,000MW.

“The implication of this is that the market for electricity is so huge that it is irresistible for both local and foreign investors,” remarks Dr Umoren. “The opportunity is so enormous because the population is there.”

With over 19 business offices and 58 service units, Benin Electricity, whose headquarters are located in the city of Benin in southern Nigeria, intends to expand its services to reach every person within the community. To ensure achieving its goal, the company is taking decisive steps to upgrade the sector’s infrastructure and increase the reliability of services to its nearly 700,000 customers in the region. In fact, last year Benin Electricity installed 380 transformers as well as 110 4MVA distribution transformers in addition to improving its maintenance services.   

These improvements are in line with the Nigerian government’s initiatives to increase energy productivity, hoping to reach 24-hour access and a fair billing process to customers for services rendered.  

“I can say that the government through the Ministry of Power and PHCN are working assiduously to ensure that the aim of the president in respect of availability of electricity is fully realised,” says Dr Umoren, further explaining that government officials as well as security personnel have aided Benin Electricity in vandalism to a number of its substations in recent years in additional to illegal connections and the thefts of aluminium conductors. 

Through controlling some of the challenges faced within the Nigerian market, Dr Umoren expresses confidence for huge expected growth within the electricity sector and his country as a whole: “Nigeria is a miracle waiting to happen. The opportunities are quite great and available for any investors.”

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