Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The federal government on Tuesday said there is currently about 2000 megawatts (MW) of electricity that could be generated and sent to manufacturing bases across Nigeria but are not being utilised because the manufacturers have not shown interests to take up this idle volume of electricity.
Speaking at the January 2018 edition of the monthly power sector operators’ meeting in Lafia, capital of Nasarawa State, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, stated that the country had recorded some milestones in its power sector in the last year, and would like to improve on them in 2018.
Fashola explained that while power generation and transmission capacities of the country had grown to 7,000MW respectively, distribution had only inched up to 5,000MW, leaving a balance of 2,000MW unused and which could be channeled to the industrial bases of the country.
To this end, he explained that the government would want manufacturing outfits and clusters in the country to indicate their willingness and where they want this excess power to be channeled to them for consumption.
Manufacturers in the country had frequently complained of poor electricity supplies and rising cost of independently providing the electricity they need to undertake their operations, while the government in 2017 approved a regulation for eligibility customers, thus paving the way for heavy power users to enter into contracts for direct power purchases with the generation companies (Gencos).
However, Fashola, said in Lafia: “I will like to start this my remarks by highlighting the progress and milestones on our journey for incremental power which reassure us that we are on the right path and inspire us to continue with more belief.
“Those milestones are represented by: Generated power has gone up to 7,000MW in 2017 from 3,000MW in May 2015, Transmission capacity at 6,900MW in 2017 from about 5,000MW in May 2015. Peak distribution now averaging 5,000MW in 2017 from 2,690MW in 2015.”
He further stated: “We are also putting together a policy position to help expand the distribution network of the Discos and use this to distribute the 2,000MW that is currently available but cannot be distributed.
“I also use the opportunity to call out to manufacturers to let us know where they are, how much power they need, and how we can connect you because we have 2000MW of undistributed power.”
The minister equally claimed that Nigerians are now spending less money on fuel and diesel for their private generators. He noted that reports he gathered also proved that Nigerians were equally being conscious of their power consumption.
“I will like to thank all of you for your contributions towards these milestones. The reason I thank you is because you are impacting the lives of Nigerians, you are saving them money and changing their lifestyles for the better.
“They tell me that their consumption of diesel and petrol to run generators for power has reduced and the hours they run their generators has gradually reduced. This is the result of incremental power and we must get more of it.
“They also tell me that they are now monitoring how they use power and are turning off appliances that are not needed. Although this is meant to save costs, it also conserves energy, reduces waste and supports incremental power,” he added.
Similarly, he stated that a section of the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) which was burnt by a bush fire last week and subsequently cut gas supply to about six gas power Gencos in the southern of the country had been repaired by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and gas supply through it to the power plants restored.
Fashola, also commissioned a 60MVA transformer installed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to boost electricity supply to Keffi and its environs in Nasarawa.
The transformer, according to the Interim Managing Director of TCN, Mr. Usman Mohammed, was installed with support from the World Bank under the Nigeria Electricity and Gas Improvement Project (NEGIP).
Mohammed also stated that it was in with the government’s Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Program (TREP), which according to him would stabilise, expand and provide the needed flexibility to Discos to effectively supply their customers.
“The TREP programme has attracted significant interest from several donors. One of the donor which signify interest in TREP is the World Bank with the sum of $486 million. The FGN led by Federal Ministry of Finance has concluded the negation of NETAP last month.
“TREP also includes strategies for completing existing projects either through in-house capacity or through the fast tracking existing contracts. Through this process several transformers and substations will be completed in the first quarter of 2018,” he stated.
He further said: “As part of the strategy of TREP, NEGIP which was implemented for eight years had 50 per cent disbursement rate as at February 2017. The disbursement rate has increased to 80 per cent between February to November 2017.
“This substation reinforcement and many others you would commission between this month and March 2018 are part of the success of our new strategy in project implementation that significantly empowered the regional offices.”
“It is necessary to bring to your attention that as we commissioned many transformers in TCN, we have discovered that there are several transformer capacities all over the country that were constrained by transmission line limitation. TCN with your support intends to embark on massive re-conductoring of transmission lines this year.
This is expected to significantly increase the wheeling capacity of TCN between 2,000MW to 3,000MW. TCN is already in discussion with World Bank to use the balance in NEGIP to procure the conductors,” Mohammed added.