Rural Electrification challenges and The Rural Electrification Agency


The Problem Statement           

Since its inception in 1981, the key objective of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Programme (NREP) has been to increase electricity access in rural areas of the country. The Agency (REA) was established in 2005 by Section 88 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act to cater for the implementation of FG’s aggressive rural electrification commitment. Although it is considered as one of the most successful government programs ever enacted, there’s still so much more yet to be accomplished by the actors.

This policy has been facing challenges of political bias which influences the planning and operations of the program. There’s also the issue of predominantly poor electricity consumers in the rural areas hence leading to low consumption and high cost of operation and capital.

The Policy Solution

The Goal of the Federal Government of Nigeria is to increase access to electricity to 75% and 90% by 2020 and 2030 respectively and at least 10% of the renewable energy mix by 2025 as contained in the National Electric Power Policy (NEPP) of 2001 and the Rural Electrification Policy of 2005 respectively.

With that in mind, the demand rate has outgrown the supply. So, strategies must be put in place to reduce the high demand for electricity. REA set out a target plan to connect 1.1 million rural households yearly from 2015 through to 2020.


Some of the objectives of the policy are

  • To achieve 60% rural electrification by 2020;
  • To establish a rural tariff model that allows for higher margins than urban tariffs thus making RE projects attractive;
  • To demand the use of low-cost and high-quality options in RE projects that apply for grants;
  • To provide grants towards the initial start-up costs of qualified RE projects;
  • To offer capacity building for potential RE partners e.g., private sector to improve their understanding of and qualification for developing and running RE projects; 
  • Educating end users on energy efficiency and solar power;
  • RE projects that will serve populations within most infrastructure-poor areas are prioritized to achieve scale and equitable access to service delivery;
  • Empower local industries to play a larger role in the supply chain from materials, manufacture, construction, and operation of the assets;
  • To work with the communities to avoid vandalism of assets.     


NIGAC Constructive Position/Take

Electricity is a viable component of economic development. Nigeria has been struggling to stabilize its electricity supply for a very long time. No doubt most business activities depend on the power supply. Any part of a nation that obtains a stable power supply gets considered to be among developing regions because it is assumed that economic activities will grow exponentially.

Its commendable that the Rural Electrification Agency has started making some achievements as regards its mission. Though there’s much more work to do, their steps in the right direction is motivating.  Constructing mini-grid systems for supplying power to rural communities and mixing it up with renewable energy is highly commendable. We could say keep up the good work.

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