*Buhari to inaugurate 450MW Azura power plant soon, says Fashola
Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The federal, states and local governments have approved that an $18 million worth of electricity transmission project-a 330 Kilovolt (KV) by 132KV, transmission substation-be built by the Niger Delta Power Holding Limited (NDPHC) in Lafia, Nasarawa State capital, to improve the quality of electricity service to its residents, the Managing Director of NDPHC, Mr. Chiedu Ugbo, has disclosed.
Speaking yesterday in Lafia where he kicked off the construction of the transmission project, Ugbo stated that Lafia which rely on supply from the power transmission line in Akwanga, some 93 kilometres away, would be switched to the new line once it is completed before the end of 2018.
He explained that the state Governor, Mr. Tanko Al-Makura, made a passionate appeal to the federal government which subsequently considered the merit of his appeal, and asked the NDPHC to intervene.
The NDPHC is jointly owned by the three tiers of government in Nigeria, and was set up to help improve the capacities of Nigeriaâ€™s power sector. It has reportedly built power generation plants, transmission and distribution systems.
Ugbo, however, said: â€œThis project was conceived by the NDPHC to improve power supply to this state, Abuja and it neighbouring states. Before now, this state was being served by a power source that comes all the way from Akwanga, an extremely long 93km 33KV line, which is a distribution high voltage line but not high voltage transmission.
â€œSo, when you are running such a length of distribution line all the way from Akwanga to Lafia with connections along the road, at the end of the day, you find out that the voltage profile for Lafia is very low. So, the demand for power in Lafia has shot up considerably and the line is unable to meet the demands of the people. The governor reached out to the government to assist in developing this project.â€
He further explained on the project, saying: â€œSo, as the line comes from Markudi, it drops some load here and then takes off again to Jos. The load would be 330KV, which is the highest voltage we have in Nigeria and is the grid. Now the line is running all the way from our switching station at Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State where we aggregate the power from the various generation plants in the eastern axis.
â€œWe will transform the 330KV load to 132KV and further transform it to 33KV before the distribution company can serve it to customers. This project will also back-feed the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) when the need arises. It is a transformation substation as well because it transforms from 330KV to 132KV and to 33KV.
â€œWe hope to complete this project before the end of this year, and we are working tirelessly with the contractor to make this happen. We have world class project consultant and contractor on site. We are also working with the Nasarawa State Government.
â€œThe federal government is very serious about this project, and for us at NDPHC, we are committed and will ensure that the project is completed, tested and inaugurated this year. There are several components of the project because building a 330KV substation is a major one. However, the project cost is roughly about $18 million.â€
Meanwhile, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said President Muhammadu Buhari will soon inaugurate the 450 megawatts (MW) Azura-Edo Independent Power Plant (IPP) built by a private firm, Azura Power, in Edo State.
Though the plant had in December 2017 synchronised its first turbine to the national grid and now generating power, it is however on schedule to bring all its three turbines to the grid some months ahead of its completion timeline. Its promoters have indicated this could happen in May 2018.
A statement from Fasholaâ€™s senior special adviser on communications, Mr. Hakeem Bello, quoted the minister to have said when he recently visited the plant that Buhari would be on hand to inaugurate it.
â€œWhen we started, I talked about incremental power, this is it,â€ Fashola said, while adding that â€œthe president would be there on completion of the project later this year to officially inaugurate the project and add it to the stock of power.â€