By Yemie Adeoye & Luka Binniyat
INSPITE of the plethora of rebuttals by Nigerians against the proposed 6000 Megawatts (Mw) of electricity by December, the federal government has come out hard to reaffirm its stand and commitment over the controversial project.
In an exclusive chat with Vanguard over the weekend in Abuja , The Honorable Minister of Power, Dr. Lanre Babalola said that much against the notion of many Nigerians that the project is unrealistic, the country would be in a position to generate, transmit and distribute 6000Mw by the end of the year.
According to him it is of note that the country currently has a nameplate installed capacity of about 8000 Mw of electricity, and a good number of the units are in various states of disrepair, while the available capacity still stands at about 4500Mw and it is from this standpoint that the target of 6000 Mw has continued to appear more feasible as it would require an additional 1500 Mw to get the proposed 6000Mw.
â€œWe have a total of over 8000Mw nameplate installed capacity in Nigeria, if we look at all the power stations across the country and you add every single unit and sum all the Megawatts together, its in excess of 8000Mw.Â A very good number of those units are in various states of disrepair, so in terms of what you can actually run to generate electricity at any given day which is refereed to as available capacity, that is around 4500Mw.Â So at any given point in time if you donâ€™t have any constraint on fuel supply, or hydro resources, it simply means that we should be in a position to generate 4500Mw of power.Â That is when youâ€™ll now start to understand that the target of 6000Mw is not outlandish.Â Basically when you talk about power generation, first of all, you ask, how much machines do we have available to do that before I start looking at the other inputs required like fuel, or even skilled manpower to operate the plants.Â Thus the target that we have in front of us is to be in a position to generate, transmit and distribute 6000Mw by December 2009.â€
However scores of Nigerians as well as stakeholders in the power sector have continued to castigate the federal government for assuring Nigerians of 6000Mw in December with little or nothing to show for it in July. Not a few are of the opinion that this is another wild goose chase as it has become the custom in the presumably jinxed sector.
A private power consultant who spoke with Vanguard on the condition of anonymity stated that the Minister may have gotten it wrong as a set date for the generation, especially as it becomes more and more glaring that it almost an impossible feat to achieve.Â According to him if you are promising 6000 in December, what do you have on ground right now to show that you are preparing towards 6000Mw by year end. â€œThis is July and the rains are here but we are still doing below 2000Mw and a lot of Nigerians donâ€™t get electricity power for a month, how then could we be talking of 6000, when we could not even get 3000Mw five months to the set-dateâ€? he queried.
But to this the Minister has stated that the country though generating a bout 2000Mw at the moment has an available capacity of 4500Mw of electricity, and as such it would not be very difficult for the country to generate an additional 1500Mw of electricity for Nigerians come December 2009.
Specifically, what this means is that the countryâ€™s capacity would be increased to 6000Mw of electricity by the said date and if there are no constraints like fuel, hydro etc, that would be possible, and not that there would be 6000 Mw of electricity by December.
Dr. Babalola, who also appealed to Nigerians to join in the governmentâ€™s effort s at realizing this projection went on to assert that as part of the ongoing measure to ensure the availability of power to Nigerians, both the transmission and distribution arm of the sector is been attended to in terms of rehabilitation and outright replacement of gadgets where necessary.Â This according to him is to ensure that when the available capacity increases there would be enough equipment to conveniently carry it to the end users.