…Says N701 Payment Assurance Now Yielding Result
By ABAH ADAH, Abuja
Hon. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has stated that more electric power is expected to come on stream in the coming 2018 even as he noted that the N701 Payment assurance scheme initiated earlier in the year to help in the realisation of the incremental power policy of the federal government has started yielding positive results.
The Minister who stated this while addressing stakeholders as the Chairman at the 22nd Power Sector Stakeholders Meeting hosted by Geregu 1 power plant in Kogi State on Monday noted that as at the time he visited the Geregu plants in 2016, only one of the tree turbines were working due to shortage of gas, saying the fact that all the tree turbines now have some gas and are working, leading to improved supply shows the scheme has helped significantly.
According to the minister, generating companies now feel safer as they can now invest and recover their money readily.
“Generation has reached an all-time high of 7, 000 mega watts (MW) which is far different from what it was in January, meaning there has been progress,” Fashola said.
The Minister who acknowledged the effort of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) for increasing its wheeling capacity to 5, 155mw as at Friday, 8th December, 2017 said that is a milestone in the journey to incremental power, adding that though the distribution companies (DisCos) have not been left behind, the problem now is much more with under-capacity to distribute as much as what is wheeled, leaving over 2000mw stranded at a time when the people are yearning for more power.
“One of the reasons why we cannot allow this power to continue being stranded is that Nigerians Need more power and more power is expected in the in-coming year, 2018 as Azura power plant and the several others will be ready to put more power on the grid even as mini-grids and other off-grid sources are expected to come on stream.
“To me, what people should be looking at now is not lack of power but where to locate those who will use the available power so that there will no more stranded power,” the Minister said.
Speaking earlier, the managing Director of Geregu power plant, Engr Adeyemi Adenuga said since Geregu 1 was transferred to the private management upon privatisation in 2013, the new management has invested over $194 billion to achieve the progress made so far.
According to Engr Adenuga, what Geregu needs now is more load that would match its generating capacity. He therefore urged that the meeting looks into how to increase its load.
On his part, the Executive Governor of Kogi State who expressed his appreciation to the Minister and President Muhammadu Buhari for what has been achieved so far in terms of power, called for massive investment in the distribution subsector of the value chain.