*REA’s initiative puts 700 fuel generators out of use in Lagos mall
Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said that Nigerians enjoyed improved electricity supplies in the last three years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government than they did in the 16 years that the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governed the country.
Fashola said this in a speech he delivered on Tuesday at the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce (NSACC) October 2018 breakfast forum.
The speech was sent to THISDAY Wednesday in Abuja by his media office, and his claims therein coincided with disclosures by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) that the implementation of its Energising Economies Initiative (EEI) in Lagos’ Sura Shopping Complex has resulted in the decommissioning of 700 petrol power generating sets previously used by traders in the multipurpose shopping centre.
According to Fashola, Nigeria’s power generation in 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari took office averaged 4,000 megawatts (MW), while transmission and distribution averaged 5,000MW and 3,000MW respectively. Though, this claims of his have previously been debunked by electricity distribution companies (Discos) through their association – the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED).
ANED, in a July response to Fashola’s claims of improvement in the power sector, said a Daily Energy Watch of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for January 28, 2015, indicated Nigeria had a generation availability of 6,421MW.
But in his NSACC speech, Fashola said: “As to what we promised, I stated in my very first public briefing in November 2015 that contrary to previous practice, we were committing to a journey; first of getting incremental power, with the plan to proceed to steady power, and ultimately get uninterrupted power.
“I made it clear that our intention was to improve your power supply experience gradually rather than discuss the megawatts as quantum of power, and that any reference to the megawatts would be measuring milestones of our progress in the journey of incremental power.”
He further stated: “As to where we are today: from 4,000MW, generation has reached 7,000MW, averaging incremental generation of 1,000MW every year since 2015; transmission has reached 7,000MW from 5,000MW, averaging 666MW of incremental transmission every year; and distribution peaked at 5,222MW in January of this year, from about 3,000MW in 2015, averaging 740MW incremental distribution capacity every year.”
“We have moved the needle forward – I see progress,” the minister added, while stating that Nigerians would have to decide to enjoy more powers by choosing who to elect in the 2019 elections.
“You will compare our record of three years with what we met after the previous 16 years. If you compare our performance record in three years with the 16-year record of the previous administration in the areas of generation, transmission and distribution you will get the following instructive results: incremental generation of 1000MW per year against 4000MW in 16 years which amounts to 250MW per year; transmission capacity improvement by 666MW per year against 5000MW in 16 years which amounts to 312.5MW per year; and distribution capacity improvement by 740MW per year as against 3,000MW in 16 years which amounts to 187.5MW per year,” Fashola explained.
He also said Nigerians now run their generators for shorter periods today than in 2015, in addition to spending less money to buy fuel for the generators.
Meanwhile, the REA said in a statement that the EEI it is implementing for the federal government in Sura Shopping Complex has rested 700 generators; reduced harmful greenhouse emissions and noise pollution; and provided gas-fired electricity to 1,047 shops in the mall for up to 70 days since it kicked off.
It explained that the ultra-modern complex located in Lagos and used for commercial purposes has also seen its rental demands increase by 15 per cent on the back of improved power supply.
According to the REA, Sura has over 11 different businesses which include printing and branding; financial services; equipment maintenance; catering and tailoring services that now benefit from about 1.5MW independent power supply provided by private operator – Solad Power Holdings, from the Island Power Plant in Marina through a dedicated underground distribution network infrastructure.
Solad, it explained, has also upgraded the distribution equipment and installed meters in all the shops to enable them manage their electricity usage.
REA added that the EEI was initiated to support the rapid deployment of off-grid electricity solutions to micro small and medium enterprises (MSME) within economic clusters such as markets, shopping complexes and agricultural and industrial clusters in Nigeria through private sector developers.
According to it, the initiative has already launched three pilot projects to electrify 50,000 shops in Sabon Gari Market, Kano State; Ariaria Market, Abia State; and Sura Shopping Complex, Lagos, with another 13 markets across the country expected to benefit from it.