By Chris Ochayi
ABUJA—The Federal Government, yesterday, announced that the construction of the Azura-Edo 450 megawatts independent power plant in Edo State has been completed.
The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who disclosed this at the inauguration of the newly appointed Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Professor James Momoh, in Abuja, said Azura has notified him on the completion of its plant and its readiness to commence operation.
He said with this positive development, 450 megawatts of electricity is expected to be transmitted to the national grid any moment from now.
The Azura-Edo IPP is a 450MW Open Cycle Gas Turbine power station being constructed near Benin City in Edo State. It is Phase 1 of a 1,500MW IPP facility located on a 100 hectare site, large enough to accommodate future expansion of the power plant.
Speaking further, the minister said power supply is being tremendously improved since the inception of the administration.
He said: “We have increased generation to 7,000mw, increasing the transmission to over 7,000mw, and increasing the distribution from 2,690 to average of 4,900 or 5,000.”
The minister added that the electricity market has a capacity of 2,000mw that has been stranded, which the ministry is working to distribute before the end of this year.
He said that the sector is expecting another 240MW from Afam and another 215MW from Kaduna. Besides, he noted that the market is also expecting power from Kashimbilla, “but the distribution end is where our challenge lies.”
The minister revealed that the mini-grid regulation has started yielding results, and the ministry is already seeing the impact in the market.
He said that this year, markets like Suru in Lagos, Sabon Gari in Kano, Ariaria in Aba, and some other markets are going to be energized.
In his remarks, Chairman of Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Prof. Momoh, promised to review lingering tariff issue that has held the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry down since 2015.
Speaking with reporters shortly after his inauguration by the Minister, Prof, Momoh said the commission has no choice but to look into the computation of tariff.
He said: “The tariff is not a challenge we cannot solve. You don’t have to relearn the same lesson today.
“There is what we call Data Science in the new thinking of the world, where we collate data, you learn from the information and you predict the future.
“So if we don’t do that we are wasting our time. Because you know it is going to rain tomorrow so you get your umbrella.”
You don’t wait until it rains before you go by umbrella.”
On whether his response suggests if there is going to be some progress in the clearance of the tariff issue that has lingered over the years, the new NERC boss said that “We have no choice we have to look at what computes a tariff. Tariff is not guesswork. There is a calculation you do to get there.”
Momoh, who described himself as a team player, promised to bring into bear the experience that he has garnered over the years in the commission.
He said he believes in rendering quality service and nothing short of this criteria would be deployed in addressing the power situation in the country.