Approves release of 907 seized power equipment containers
Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Nigeria is seriously considering the decentralisation of its power transmission network into segments which could be concessioned to private operators to invest in, manage and charge transmission fees, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said.
Fashola said yesterday in Lagos that due to the current challenges of the country’s transmission network, a proposal on the ‘technical
possibilities’ of decentralising the huge transmission grid was already on the table of the government.
He said the proposal, if it sails through, would enable the government invite private operators to invest and manage segments of the grid on an agreed commercial framework.
The minister spoke at a public lecture, a text of his speech was however made available to THISDAY by his media aide, Mr. Hakeem Bello.
He said the adopted roadmap of the President Muhammadu Buhari government for the power sector was first to ensure that power generation in the country remained incremental, its transmission stable and distribution uninterrupted.
Fashola also disclosed that a total of 907 containers loaded with transmission equipment at the country’s sea port have been ordered to be released to the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and its contractors by Buhari.
This, he noted, would allow the TCN complete extant transmission projects which would see it grow its wheeling capacity to 20,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity within five years.
“We are also looking at technical possibilities that support the decentralisation of the grid while keeping them interconnected.
“This will help us take up offers of private investment that ensures investors can ring fence and collect revenues wheeling charges for the power they help to transmit or transport,” Fashola said.
He further explained that: “Today, they (TCN) can only transport 5000MW.
That is all we have done since 1950. We must do more and we are on the way.
“There are currently about 126 projects awarded for this purpose but with all sorts of problems.”
On the released containers, he stated: “About 907 containers of various equipment imported at the ports and paid for, have been abandoned with demurage, port charges and all sorts of costs by contractors who have deserted their contracts.
“Approvals have been given by the president for their release, we have met with Customs, the shippers, the warehouse owners and operators all of whom have shown an inspiring sense of patriotism to release their containers. These meetings are being chaired by the vice-president.
“The containers expectedly contain all sorts of equipment which hopefully, when recovered, will help solve some of our transmission problems.
“TCN has expressed a desire to increase transmission capacity from 5,000MW to 7,000MW, 10,000MW to 13,000MW to 16,000MW and 20,000MW over five years from this year.
“We have demanded and there are now working to provide us with an implementation plan for each stage; including the detail quantities, design, way leave, cost and everything that will facilitate efficient project implementation.”
He said the government was working to diversify Nigeria’s electricity sources to meet its plan for the sector.
“So, in answer to the big question, ‘what is the roadmap?’ I say it is getting “incremental power, in a way that every megawatt of power must be harnessed and made available to our people.
“From ‘incremental power’ we may then seek to deliver ‘steady power’ and from then go on to ‘uninterrupted power,” he added.