By Ediri Ejoh:Vanguard
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has attributed the challenges in the power sector to man-made situations and not technical as widely speculated.
According to him some of the key challenges came as a result of “indebtedness to contractors, lack of project supervision and discipline in managing contracts that were not budgeted for or if budgeted for, were poorly funded.” In a document made available to Sweetcrude, the Minister had reiterated that most of the problems, especially in the Power Sector, were not technical, adding that “the Ministry had evolved clear roadmaps that were already being implemented to achieve sustainable solutions to the problems in the three critical sectors.”
Fashola, however, noted that the problem was also that of insufficient power to distribute. He listed projects currently being implemented to increase availability of power to include; “the 450MegaWatts (MW) Azura Power Plant in Edo State, the 700MW Zungeru Hydro Power Plant in Niger State, the Gurara Hydro Power Plant in Kaduna, the Kashimbilla Plant and the 115MW Kaduna Plant.”
Meanwhile, the Minister also listed areas where transmission expansion projects are currently ongoing to strengthen transmission to include; the Eastern Axis where the Ikot-Ekpene-Alaoji Transmission project takes off up to Enugu from where it would boost power all the way to Makurdi, adding that the local issues that earlier hindered work had been resolved.
Stating some of the projects at the transmission line, Fashola said; “work was currently going the Kano-Kaduna Transmission Station, Lambe Transmission Station, Kumbotsu Transmission Station and the Alagbon Transmission Station in Lagos, while the Okada transmission station in Edo State has been completed. He added: “There are more that have been awarded this year; the Gurara Transmission project to take power from Gurara into Kaduna is nearing completion”.
On success of the country’s privatization, Fashola maintained that “the scheme, in spite of its challenges, could work, and in spite of the ongoing vandalism and sabotage of power assets, incremental power is being achieved,” adding that in the last two weeks about 400MW of electricity has been added to the national grid from the hydro plants.
On hydro plants Fashola explained that capacity of the hydro plants has been increase as turbines have started functioning. He stated: “We have increased the capacity of the hydros by fixing turbines that were abandoned or unmaintained for about three decades. Within the period we have done a lot of repair and maintenance work. “Of course, there is increased circle of rainfall and water levels, but if you have three turbines and only one is working you can only depend on one.
So where we had one working, we now have two, and others respectively. “And so the hydros are giving us almost 400MW of power and that is a lot of power given our situation. And we have added about 1MW of Solar and there is more development coming, and that makes us on the path to success. Commenting on the issue of the review of electricity tariff in the country, Fashola, recalled that the initial reaction of consumers was that they were not communicated with on the intention of government.