The incessant pipeline vandalism in Nigeria’s western axis is affecting the supply of gas to power stations, reducing the megawatts by 1,000, a government official has said.
The Minister for Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, described the activities of pipeline vandals as sabotage to the government’s effort in ensuring that power generating companies get enough input in terms of gas supply.
He called on the media to sensitise Nigerians on the negative impact of such vandalism to the economy and to the entire value chain.
“When gas supply is affected, it is not only power that suffers. It affects the entire value chain. The industries cannot work. There will be no power and the farmers cannot get fertilizer,” Professor Nebo said on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise, on Saturday.
He reiterated that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan had a good agenda that Nigerians would benefit from if they would support the government by ensuring that facilities put in place by the government were not vandalised.
“The president did what no other president could do. He faced the privatisation process and made sure it was completed,” he stated.
Since the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), some Nigerians have complained of deteriorating power supply.
Professor Nebo attributed the situation to the reduction in the supply of gas to power stations and assured Nigerians that there would be improvements in few weeks.
“Everything is on course. The challenge we are having now is the teething problem.
“The good news is that the work of these vandals is being checked. The National Security Adviser to the President held a meeting with security operatives and all the stakeholders to that effect. There have been convictions of those who have vandalised facilities.
“The hope is that very soon there will be an improvement in power supply, as the entire value chain is being addressed.
“The horrible dynamite blow outs of the gas pipeline on the western axis have all been fixed. In the next few weeks there will be significant improvements,” the minister said.
New Investors In Huge Debt Profile
Funding has also been identified as another issue that is affecting the supply. Some of the new power generating companies are over stretched, having huge debt profile.
“Some of the companies borrowed much of the money they used for the purchase of the unbundled PHCN.
“What we did not foresee is that there would be a huge debt profile hanging on the necks of the distribution companies.
“We are doing our best to ensure that the issue of gas is settled, then we will demand that the output match the input,” Professor Nebo said.
He pointed out that there were power projects that had not been used to its full capacity due to the gas shortfall.
“Geregu Power Plant should be generating over 400 megawatts but because of the gas pipeline vandalism, they are generating less than 200 megawatts,” he explained.
The minister urged Nigerians to be a little patient, as the expected improvements after the sales of the PHCN would be experienced soon.
At the moment, Nigeria is generating 3,800 megawatts, a figure far too small to cater for a nation of over 160 million people.