By Yemie Adeoye
THE Minister of Power Dr. Lanre Babalola has said that the activities of his ministry have revolved around rehabilitation and reinforcement of existing facilities adding that without adequate reinforcement and expansion in the network whatever achievement that is recorded will not have the desired impact.
Babalola said with recent improvement in actual power generation to 3,700Mw, government has intensified its efforts to ensure that various projects in the transmission and distribution sectors of the industry are vigorously pursued to boost electricity delivery to the final consumers.
To this end over 1,106 projects were embarked upon to enhance delivery of power generated to consumers.
According to the Minister out of these projects, 428 have been completed while 678 are now at various stage of completion adding that these projects will support about 2,740 MVA or 2,349MW in the national grid in addition to the existing distribution capacity.
The Minister said the activities of the ministry has revolved around rehabilitation and reinforcement of existing facilities.
He explained that without adequate reinforcement and expansion in the network whatever achievement that is recorded will not have the desired impact.
He explained that the task before the administrators of the power sector was enormous but that it is surmountable bearing in mind that the progress recorded in power generation today is a clear demonstration of the Present administrationâ€™â€™s absolute commitment to the issue of power in the country.
â€œWe are tackling the problems in the sector by improving our capacity which is currently over 5,600MW and we are also reinforcing both transmission and distribution networks so that we can deliver this power to Nigerians. We have the capacity and with availability of gas more electricity will be deliveredâ€he said.
Babalola noted that activities in the sector is a continuous process as projects takes years from initial concept t design ,engineering and construction.
He stressed that with effective monitoring of the activities of contractors handling the NIPP projects there is no doubt that before too long Nigerians will begin to see more relief in power supply pointing out that the head of Distribution companies have been given autonomy to take vital decision in addressing the challenges in their respective zones.
According to him, Nigerians deserve improved services in power supply and that the Ministry is doing everything possible to improve on service delivery stressing that ,investment in the sector takes time to mature and that most of the equipment are not manufactured in the country adding that all these challenges are been addressed with a long term objective.
The Minister also listed a number of ongoing rehabilitation projects aimed at improving power supply in 2010. These projects include 130MW Afam V, 200MW in Delta, 200MW Afam VI, 90MW from Jebba hydro power and 440Mw from unit 6 in Lagos thermal station in Egbin.
Babalola stated further that as part of diversification strategy to shore up operations in the power sector, preliminary work have been concluded on the proposed 215MW dual fired â€“â€“Low pour fuel /Gas power plant in Kaduna,300MW coal-fired power plant,250MW crude/gas fired power plant,700MW hydro-power plant in Zungeru and 50MW small and Mini hydro-power plants. The projects are expected to deliver power in 3-4 years.
According to him, government has also engaged a consultant to undertake a detailed review of the feasibility study done on the proposed 2,600MW Mambilla hydro power station adding that contract for the tender document in respect of Zungeru power station has since been awarded.
In order to engage the private sector effectively in power business, the Minister said Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and Gas Supply Purchase Agreement (GSPA) as well as Gas Transportation Agreement (GTA) have been drafted in line with international standard to facilitate private sector involvement in the industry.
According to him these documents are vital as bankable instruments that help would be investors to obtain loan or to access other financial sources that would aid investment in the power sector.
He pointed out that while all these enabling conditions are being addressed the issue of qualified manpower that will deliver the targets as well as gas not only to power some of the idle power plants but the ones in plan are equally receiving greater attention from the Ministry.
Before the end of last year power generation which use to hover around 1,900MW to 2,400MW increased to over 3,700MW while the actual available machines in terms of national capacity stood at over 5,600MW.