Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Nigeria’s total power generation stock is expected to rise by 1,150 megawatts (MW) between 2019 and 2020, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has disclosed.
Fashola, said recently in Lagos, that two power plants – the 700MW Zungeru hydro power plant and 450MW Okpai II gas power plant, would be ready to produce power to the national in the next two years.
He did not state which would come in first, but assured consumers that both would boost the country’s power generation by 1,150MW when they begin to produce.
The minister’s disclosure came at a time the Abuja electricity distribution company (Disco) stated that a preliminary report on the electricity-induced fire that killed a mother and her three children in Niger State did not find it guilty or responsible for the disaster.
In his speech at the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Forum in Lagos, Fashola said: “Between 2019 and 2020 (Q1) Zungeru 700MW, Okpai II 450MW, totalling 1,150MW should come into operation.”
He added that: “These do not include about 7,000MW of installed but inoperative power plants that are constrained either by gas supply or transmission capacity or both, about which action is being taken.
“It does not include independent power plants now under construction in nine federal universities with a plan to scale to 37, neither does it include 15 independent power projects targeting major markets now under construction to power 85,000 shops and small businesses.”
He insisted that the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari, has done well in the power sector, saying: “In summary, incremental capacity is heading in the right direction, we are planning to solve today’s problems, liberalise participation in the sector, and enable private sector undertake the business of generating and distributing power, which it contracted to do with the privatisation programme that took place in 2013.
“The prospects for the future are clear, they portray hope, and I am optimistic that today’s problems represent opportunities in the power sector for tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, in a statement signed and sent to THISDAY by the General Manage, Corporate Communications at Abuja Discos, Mr. Oyebode Fadipe, the Disco said the fire incident that led to the death of a mother and her three children in a residence in Bosso area of Minna, the Niger State capital, was as a result of fire outbreak caused by a boiling ring and not electrical surge as reported in the media.
It explained that the media had erroneously reported that the fire incident, which occurred recently in Angwan Sarkin Hausawa area of Bosso, was sparked off by a strong electricity surge from its network, adding that preliminary investigations by a fact finding team dispatched to the area immediately after the incident contradicted such reports.
According to the Disco, the findings revealed that the inferno occurred because the victims did not switch off a boiling ring in the sitting room of their single room apartment during an outage, and when power supply was restored to the area, the victims had gone to sleep, thereby resulting in the fire that engulfed the whole apartment and killed the four.
It noted that the fact-finding team was led by its Head of Protection, Control and Maintenance, Mr. Mohammed Ainoko Sule, and its report showed the incident had nothing to do with a power surge. The Discos commiserated with the family of the deceased and other members of the Bosso community.