In conversation with an energy lawyer a couple of days ago, a picture of the privatised NEPA/PHCN world to come started to emerge. Although PHCN has been broken up, with bids for the various aspects of the existing business and tenders for new Independent Power Plants ongoing, it looks like the overall strategy for power generation has not been fully thought through. It seems that there has been no strategy for giving consumer choice in the consumption of electricity, so Nigerians will move from dealing with a huge dysfunctional national monopoly to area-specific monopolies. Quite why the new energy matrix was not designed with competition in mind from the outset is a puzzle. Just as with the telecoms sector, a whole raft of interconnect agreements will have to be implemented before consumers have access to an alternative provider. Let's hope the new regulating agency plays a strong role in opening up competition in the next few years.
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