In a bid to combat climate change challenges, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged telecom operators to transition from fossil-based operations to renewable energy sources such as solar power. The call was made by the executive vice chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta during the commemoration of the 2023 World Consumer Rights Day held in Abuja on March 15, 2023.
Danbatta stated that embracing renewable energy sources would significantly reduce noise pollution from diesel generators in base transmission stations (BTS) and minimise the environmental impact of carbon emissions. He also noted that implementing energy efficiency measures could potentially reduce telecom operators’ operating costs by up to 20 per cent.
With the energy challenges facing Nigeria, the 54,000 BTS scattered across the country currently depend on diesel generators, causing noise and environmental pollution. Some of these BTS operate on diesel generators for 24 hours a day (seven days a week in some locations). Transitioning to renewable energy sources like solar power will reduce pollution and minimise carbon emissions.
Danbatta called on mobile network operators (MNOs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to innovate in sustainable energy in line with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Recommendation ITU-T L.1380 on smart energy solutions for telecom sites’ performance, safety, energy efficiency, and environmental impact. He also revealed that NCC was working on a policy to encourage telecom operators to adopt renewable energy sources.
In his welcome address, the NCC’s executive commissioner for stakeholder management, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu explained that the theme of the 2023 World Consumer Rights Day, “Empowering Consumers through Clean Energy Transition,” provided an opportunity to examine the unintended side-effects of the telecoms industry on the environment. Adewolu noted that the Nigerian telecoms industry serves over 226 million voice customers and over 156 million internet customers, who rely on communication infrastructure for various services.
The celebration also witnessed the launch of the Telecom Consumer Assistance, Resolution and Enquiries (TELCARE) desk at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. The TELCARE desk is a pilot project aimed at providing information and resolving consumer complaints while advocating for thematic consumer issues or concerns.