— April 5, 2014
Vice President Namadi Sambo yesterday gave a marching order to power distribution contractors to complete their contracts on the power projects within 60 days or get their contracts terminated.
Accordingly, he directed the managing director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Mr James Olotu, to communicate to the contractors the need to fast-track work to avoid the consequences of not completing their work within the stipulated period.
The vice president gave the directive at a meeting with the transmission and distribution companies in his office at the presidential villa, Abuja.
Noting that government was ready to assist the new owners to acquire transformers to enable them to distribute power in the event where they have need of them, Sambo added that the companies would buy the transformers from the Ministry of Power, while payment will be spread over a period of 15 years.
Not satisfied, he directed stakeholders at the meeting to also submit their plans on delivering energy metering within one week.
According to the vice president, the meeting was “conveyed to review the power supply situation in the country and essentially to work out strategies through which government investment through the NDPHC in terms of various assets at the distribution level could be completed and transferred to the Discos at a price to be determined later”.
In order to tackle most of the challenges faced by the new owners, the VP directed the transmission, distribution and Niger Delta power companies to meet and solve the problems facing their operations especially that of load shedding in parts of the country.
Decrying a situation where someone blew up a gas pipeline and the act of sabotage by others causing the problems experienced in Lagos and nationwide, Sambo said government places high premium in the power sector and has invested heavily in the gas project to supply to power stations.
He urged the transmission and distribution companies to be transparent in their operations and work together to achieve the desired result for Nigerians.
Earlier, Olotu briefed the meeting on the progress made by NIPP, even as he highlighted some challenges which included unavailability of 33 KV bays at the 132/33kV substations, inadequate transmission capacity at the TCN substation of Abuja, Ikeja and Port Harcourt Discos; security challenges in the north-east; and the issue of connection of weak existing 33 KV source to new completed injection substations in Kaduna and Ibadan.
The meeting observed that some Discos refused connection of completed project in Jos and Port Harcourt, even as it was discovered that lines work are being frustrated by aesthetic development along road works in Lagos and Rivers states.
It was also observed at the meeting that delayed procurement of last batch of materials, including automation equipment at Eko and Abuja Discos, was one of the challenges responsible for poor state of power supply across the area.
Other challenges identified include sub-optimal funds management while waiting for resolution of problems like security challenges and supply issues.
Why Jonathan has failed to keep promise on regular power supply in 2014 – Okupe
The senior special assistant to the president on public affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, has attributed the failure of President Goodluck Jonthan to deliver on his promised regular power supply by 2014 to alleged sponsored attacks on gas pipelines supplying the completed $16 billion Nigeria Integrated Power Projects (NIPP).
Okupe said preliminary investigations have shown that the sponsors of the attacks on the gas pipelines are politicians out to frustrate the successes of the present administration in the power sector and shut in the expected 4,000 megawatts needed to provide 18 hours’ regular power supplies to homes and businesses in the country.
Okupe, who made this known in an interview with newsmen at the end of a two-day summit of state publicity secretaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Yenagoa, said the decision to arrest the situation and effect repairs on the destroyed pipelines would take six weeks during which people would experience low power supply.
He stated: “It is a major concern to the present administration that there has been major drop in supply. This administration was able to, satisfactorily, unbundle the PHCN to the commendation of the international community. It was transparently conducted and evidently commended by all. With that in place, we believe the dynamics will not come to play. We had expected what happened in the telecommunication sector to take place in the power sector.
“But, unfortunately, those who are unrelenting in their attempts to ensure that they give a wrong perspective of President Goodluck Jonathan and his capacity to deliver and perform… It is an unhidden fact that there are some Nigerians in this country who are willing to put their lives down to ensure that President Jonathan is not perceived a performer in the country. When the president started to commission the NIPP projects and they started coming on stream, what did we experience? Pipeline vandalism all over the country. Major sabotage. In some places, gas pipelines that were buried six meters below the surface of the earth were blown. That is in excess of 18 feet down was blown up for several kilometres. We continued to play very dangerous games in the country and politicizing virtually everything. It is very obvious and clear to us that some people, knowing full well that, all things being equal, President Goodluck Jonathan will deliver on his promise on power, and believing that once that is done, Nigerians will have no other thing to do but return him if he decides to contest… so, because of that, people took a terrible decision and sabotage government efforts.
“As I am speaking with you, I have spoken to the managing director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, James Olotu, and he told me that the majority of the NIPP power plants, commissioned or not, are just there and not functional. They are not working. Not because they are defective but because they gas plants – they can only be made to work if you supply them gas. So, we have a huge investment of over $16billion lying down, fully completed, but saboteurs are about to kill the dream. This is the major reason the president has not delivered on interrupted power supply. Our major trust has been on gas for energy supply.
We have NIPP plants that can produce 5,000 megawatts but are being thrown out because some evil people have decided to punish Nigerians and give the president a bad name. We have installed power plants with installed capacity of 7,000 to 7,500 megawatts.”