By Chris Ochayi
ABUJA—The Federal Government, yesterday, announced that it would collaborate with the organised private sector, comprising the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, and other Chambers of Commerce and Industry to find means to evacuate the stranded 2,000 megawatts of electricity.
Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this at the 22nd monthly Power Sector Operators meeting in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, noting that, “We must locate where the need is to avoid wasting of power.
According to Fashola, “The fact that we can produce over 7,000 MW and can now only put over5,000 MW on the grid means that we have 2,000 MW of unused power left in a country where many still require power. This is a new problem that we must resolve.
“We must get that 2,000 MW out to the people who need it, because more power is coming in 2018 from places like Azura (450 MW); Katsina wind (10 MW); Gbarain (115 MW); Kashimbilla (40 MW); Afam III (240 MW); Gurara (30 MW); Dadin Kowa (29 MW); and Kaduna (215 MW) to mention a few.
“All of these do not include mini-grids and solar systems that are in various stages of development. This may appear to be a lot of work. Yes, that is one way to see it. But I see it as a momentous opportunity and privilege to be part of a revolution that will change the course of Nigeria irreversibly for the better. If you see it this way, you will brace yourself for the exciting journey that lies ahead to solve the problem of lack of meters, estimated billing, and other service related issues.
“You will be in a position to put a smile on the faces of Nigerians who trust in our ability as a Government and a team to deliver on their power expectations. This part of the journey requires us to think about what we can do individually and collectively about how to make it better. It requires us to jettison our fixed positions and prejudices, it requires us to offer solutions not disagreements and to demonstrate a willingness to try out new things.
He noted that on Thursday, 7 December 2017, I was listening to a radio programme where a small business operator was discussing her fish business and the problems she was encountering. She was one of the many people whose lives President Buhari is committed to changing for the better.
“As you would expect, she complained about power supply but she did not say where she was or where her business is located. This happening at a time when, as I have announced, that we are now able to produce up to 7,000 MW of power and able to transport a similar capacity. It happened 48 hours after we successfully reached the peak supply of 5,019 MW put on the grid and distributed on 5th December 2017 and before the peak of 5,155MW.
“It happened while the mini grid summit, the largest ever attended in Africa, with 600 participants from about 40 countries holding in Abuja, was coming to its closing stages to decide how to deploy mini grid electric supply to those unserved and under-served places and small businesses in Nigeria.
“It showed clearly that there is a gulf between the location of the need and the location of supply.”
Fashola added that, “If we can produce 7,000 MW but we can only distribute about 5,000 MW, the problem has changed from lack of power to locating where the need is and designing a solution that takes the balance of 2,000 MW to those who need it, who can use it and who can pay for it.