Atiku : How I Will Lead Nigeria Out of Current Electricity Challenges
*Power grid begins gradual recovery after nationwide blackout
Chuks Okocha and Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
Former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the 2023 general election, Abubakar Atiku, yesterday outlined how he will lead Nigeria out of its current electricity challenges.
In a statement he personally signed, Atiku said that having keenly observed developments in the power sector, he was convinced that his solution to the electricity crisis as encapsulated in his policy document, ‘My Covenant with Nigerians’, remains the most proactive plan to lead Nigeria out of darkness.
“In this regard, my approach is to first remove the entire electricity value chain from the exclusive list and give states the power to generate, transmit and distribute electricity for themselves.
“An industrial dispute with the federal government in Abuja should not affect an industry in Lagos or a factory in Aba or in Kano or even an average Nigerian who just wants to get home, watch the news and sleep under a ceiling fan,” he stated.
The former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the main opposition party, PDP, reiterated that his policy shall aim at achieving greater coordination of investments in the entire electricity value chain.
“Investments in additional generation capacity are futile without consideration for the complementary transmission and distribution infrastructure to wheel the additional energy.
“Any investment in additional generation capacity would be competitively procured considering a viable mix of renewable (hydro, solar, wind and biofuels) and non-renewable (coal, gas) options for energy security.
“Thirdly, ahead of procuring additional generation, both transmission and distribution capacities would be enhanced with government and private sector support for investments,” Atiku stated.
In this regard, the former vice president promised to incentivise private investment in the development of multiple greenfield mini-grid transmission systems to be looped into the super-grid in the medium to long term while allowing the federal government focus on policy, regulation, and standardisation.
“My aspiration to be president is to protect the interest of the average Nigerian in all circumstances, and on this, I stand to say that I have no interest either directly or indirectly in any generator company, as has been publicly revealed,” he added.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s electricity grid began a gradual recovery yesterday after a nationwide blackout the previous day occasioned by the shutdown of the country’s power supply infrastructure by protesting members of the National Union Electricity Employees (NUEE).
The action by the union, which has drawn flaks from Nigerians had led to the collapse of the fragile national grid which had crashed at least six times before the latest incident.
Checks at the national System Operator (SO), a unit of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) showed that although some of parts of the country were yet to have supply, generation had hit 3,772.60 megawatts at about 4pm.
Many parts of Abuja which had suffered darkness after the cuts, started receiving supply at about 10am, following the suspension of the industrial action embarked upon by workers of the TCN over some controversial demands.
Chief among the demands was the refusal of the workers , mostly principal managers of the wholly government-owned TCN, to accede to attend a promotion interview before their elevation.
As of yesterday evening, 22 power generation companies were on the grid even as Shiroro Hydro was pushing 584MW into the system, Azura-Edo IPP was generating 408MW and Jebba Hydro was supplying 403MW.
But on the distribution side, the electricity distribution companies load allocation was 2,485MW cumulatively with Abuja and Ikeja Discos having the highest allocation of 280MW each.
But earlier in the day, a statement by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) noted that while the strike had been called off, rebooting the system was taking a while.
“As of 8.33 am, today 18 August, 2022, AEDC received and absorbed only 100 megawatts stabilisation supply to help restart our system. Please bear with us as we restore power to your area as we receive more allocation,” it said in a note to its customers.
The union had suspended the action for two weeks to enable the government address the issues, which also included the so-called stigmatisation of former Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) workers, who alleged that they had been denied employment opportunities in TCN.
The aggrieved workers had also demanded the payment of outstanding arrears of privatisation since 2019.
Earlier, the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) had announced the restoration of power supply in the South-east.
The Head, Corporate Communications of EEDC, Mr Emeka Ezeh, disclosed that the restoration to parts of the region started at about 12.34 am.
“In view of the decision reached yesterday evening (August 17), at a meeting between the striking electricity employees and the ministers of labour and power, the strike by electricity workers has been suspended.
“Restoration of power supply commenced since 00.34a.m. (on August 18) in parts of the South-east states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.
“Though this has been gradual, it is hoped that before noon today (yesterday)(August 18) all EEDC outgoing feeders would have fully been restored,” he noted.