Government to commission more power projects this year
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has unveiled plans to commission some electricity projects this year.
Fashola, who made this revelation in Lagos during the 11th Monthly Stakeholders meeting, said some of the projects to be commissioned in the course of the year include the completion of the Kaduna 215 megawatt power plant; the Gurara project and the Gardin Kowa plant. Others are switching of the Gudenda substation, as well as the conclusion of the Katsina wind and the Abuja solar farms.
The second phase of the Abuja solar project, he noted would run-up from 800watts to 1.2 megawatt and possibility of partnerships in the area of development of hydro dams.
He also disclosed that there are 14 projects for transmission in Lagos State and Ikeja West, which is the largest in terms of transformer capacity, is currently undergoing expansion to respond to the growing needs of population. “This tells you clearly that the transmission system is not static, it is dynamic and expanding.”
According to him, the evacuation of power at the Ikot Ekpene switching station is what has kept the grid to almost 4,000 megawatts. “We still have 3,000 megawatt out from the damage of the excado and vocado, so if that comes back, we are almost at 7,000 megawatts, so the target is incremental power.”
Fashola, who acknowledged the challenges operators are facing, expressed worries over consumer service as the focus of the power sector, saying “it remains the top burner issue because our staff must understand that without the customers, they do not have jobs and if they lack the skill and patients to serve, then they should leave.”
“Various distribution areas should improve the quality of service and recognize the customer as king, if we cannot solve the problem, we owe them some explanation. The issues around metering and billing should be addressed with trust,” he added.
On behalf of the operator, the Chief Executive Officer, Ikeja Electric, Mr Anthony Youdeiwoe stated that though the expectations of the Nigerian public have not been fully met, operators are working hard in the midst of the volatility of the operating grounds to meet up.
“We are not just in the business of providing power; we are in the business of providing hope, and so on behalf of the operators, we are committed to attain success.”
Meanwhile on the problem of liquidity, the power minister noted that government was working with both local and international development partners to ascertain the role they can play in the market. “We are trying to see what we can do together in order to bring the liquidity issues under some control and from there eventually solve it.”
“As pioneers you would carry some burdens, but am optimistic that together we can win,” he added.