The Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC), operator and implementer of the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) has highlighted a raft of measures it was taking to evacuate over 2000 megawatts (mw) electricity languishing at the plants as stranded power amid millions of homes and businesses living without electricity.
The company, however, disclosed that the debts owed it by the electricity market through the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), among other agencies of government was now between N150 billion to N180 since the declaration of the Transitional Electricity Market (TEM) in 2015.
The Managing Director of NDPHC, Mr. Chiedu Ugbo, disclosed this yesterday in Lagos, at a media parley to create awareness for the Light-up Nigeria Programme, being promoted by the company in full support of the Vice President and Chairman of NDPHC, Mr. Kashim Shettima.
Ugbo, said despite the humongous debts, the Light UP programme was waxing stronger as the company was determined to explore all options aimed at taking electricity to all homes and businesses to enable every Nigerian resident in any part of the country enjoy good life.
The NDPHC boss said he has initiated bilateral electricity sales contracts with Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) to supply Ota Industrial Clusters, in Ogun while many other projects were also on with other Distribution companies including Eko Disco.
He said the company had also launched a business case to businesses in Agbara Industrial Clusters in the same Ogun State where it is working with its financial and technical partners to provide stable, secured and affordable electricity to them under the eligible customer arrangement.
He said the NDPHC was facing under-capacity allocation from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) despite its huge available generation capacity which he said was between 2500mw to 3500mw.
He complained that the System Operator, which is a section of the TCN, allocates NDPHC a maximum dispatch space of 975mw at peak transmission capacity and minimum of 756mw at off-peak despite the NIPP operator being often substantially mechanically available.
To address the evacuation challenge, Ugbo said his organisation was now refocusing on intervening and investing in transmission and distribution, noting that there was urgent need for capital intervention in the Nigerian power industry.
Owing to the company’s effective and efficient implementation of the eligible customer and bilateral power sales contract in a way that guarantees security of power supply and security of payment for power consumed, Ugbo said a number of generation companies were now approaching it to do business with it.
He said the bilateral contract arrangement was the best way to ensure that businesses get return on investment and stay afloat with additional benefits of business expansion, job creation and economy growth.
Apart from the under-capacity allocation challenge from the national grid managers, the NDPHC boss stated that other challenges it was grappling with were shortage of gas supply largely caused by the inability of the gas suppliers to give them gas at the government approved price.
He explained that the international oil companies (IOCs) were reluctant to sell gas to power plants at the regulated $2.18 price, but instead prefer to sell to any willing buyer at $2.50 market rate.
While revealing the N180 billion owed NDPHC by the electricity market, Ugbo, however, admitted that the company was also indebted to other entities in the value chain including the gas producers.
As part of the initiatives to drive the Light up Nigeria programme and ultimately take electricity to the unserved, underserved and less-privileged areas in the country, he said the company had embarked on an aggressive renewable energy projects across the country.
He explained that the company explored the solar solution option to cover the residential and under-privileged areas while it concentrates most of the grid power to powering businesses and industrial development of the Nigeria.
Still on the debts owed NDPHC by the electricity market, Ugbo said the federal government was managing it well and paying them as at when fund was available.
Also on the government’s directive banning further increment on electricity tariff, which meant retention of subsidy on the electricity market, the NDPHC boss backed the government for taking such decision.
Fielding questions on the once-proposed sale of the 10 plants under NIPP, Ugbo said it was embargoed because the owners of the business, which is the three tiers of government, were yet to take a decision to sell.
“The owners of the business have not come up with a decision to sell. We at the NDPHC are just care-takers. We will act based on any decision taken by the owners of the business, which are the Federal Government, and the states governments,” he said.