Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Nigerians should expect to see some levels of disruption in electricity supplies to their homes and offices as the rains continue to fall across the country, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, disclosed on Monday.
Fashola, in his remarks at the June 2018 meeting of operators in Nigeriaâ€™s power sector which held in Kaduna, explained that the rainy season presented a peculiar challenge to operators in the power sector.
He said part of the challenges included frequent thunderstorms, lightening and windstorms, which could lead to vegetation or trees falling on power lines and causing power cuts to homes and offices.
The minister however said he would expect operators, mostly, the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) to step up to the challenges, and improve on their service and maintenance of their distribution networks to minimise the expected impacts on consumers.
â€œIn the last few months, I have used the opportunity of this meeting to focus attention of operators, Gencos, transmission company and Discos, who are the points of public interface, on the need to pay more attention to service delivery, repairs, and maintenance of equipment.
â€œMy focus in this meeting will not be different. We are beginning a different weather season that will see more rainfall, thunderstorms, lightening and windstorms,â€ said Fashola.
He further stated: â€œAll of these will affect regular supply one way or another. Trees will fall and disrupt lines, poles and lines may be damaged, and service will be disrupted.
â€œIn all these situations, we must prepare our staff to anticipate, plan, and respond. Most importantly, we must inform the public about the problems and what we are doing to restore service whenever there are disruptions.â€
He said while the rainy season benefits farmers, fishermen and others, â€œit is also a season of challenge for those who manage the power sectorâ€.
â€œAs a consumer myself, nothing gives me more comfort than when my service provider shares information about service disruptions. It tells me quickly that at least somebody knows that there is a problem, and gives me hope that something is being done about it. You can get more details on rainfall pattern from the NiMet, as it is now,â€ he added.
Fashola, who briefly digressed from the power sector challenges with the rains, also said the countryâ€™s roads were not spared from the severe weather that comes with the rains.
According to him, â€œYesterday, we lost a culvert on one of our major highways in Mokwa to heavy rains and flood and so we commenced emergency intervention and traffic diversion. We will start emergency repairs soon.
â€œI think one of the media houses reported that I said the bridge will be repaired in 72 hours, I did not say such a thing, you donâ€™t repair a bridge in 72 hours. What I said is that the discomfort from diverting traffic uncertainty, we will try and manage and within 72 hours we should be able to effectively manage the diversion to ease the initial discomfort.
â€œThe time it will take to construct the bridge will depend on the advice I receive from the engineers and the contractors who have been deployed to the site,â€ he said.