Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has expressed displeasure with the slow pace of work at the Egbema Power Station Project site.
Governor Okorocha made the appeal on Wednesday during an inspection of the project in Mmahu, Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State, Southeast Nigeria.
He charged contractors handling the project to hasten up work at the site to ensure completion.
In response, the contractor said the project was 80 per cent completed, but his declaration was countered by the indigenes who were also not pleased with the pace of work.
However, executives of companies in charge of monitoring and timely completion of the project, the Executive Director (networks) of Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Albert Okorogu and General Manager of the National Integrated Power Plant (NIPP) for Southeast zone, Nkechi Mba, gave reasons for the delay.
The Egbema Power Project was awarded by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration in 2006 with an installed capacity of 338 megawatts but up till now, the job was less than 60 per cent completed.
Nigeria’s President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, on Friday commissioned the Olurunsogo Power Plant in Ogun State, South West Nigeria.
The 750 megawatts power plant is part of the National Integrated Power Plants (NIPP) built by the three tiers of government and is expected to add capacity to power generation.
During the commissioning of the newly built power plant, the President said that this project was a testament to the success of the reforms in the sector.
“It is instructive to know that this power station, like all the other nine, have been privatised through the very transparent and successful bid process which was carried out last year.
“This process initiated the expanded engagement of the private sector in the operations and management of our power assets.
“The proceeds realised from the privatisation process will be reinvested to further strengthen the national transmission grid,” President Jonathan said.
The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, also explained, “Power generation in the country today has improved tremendously, with NIPP power stations playing an increasingly significant role in adding to the generation mix to Nigerians.
“Actual and available generation capacity has consistently hovered around 5,000 Megawatts with NIPP contribution rising daily as more units are synchronised into the system.”
Investments so far on the project stand at 650million dollars and 8.26billion dollars on other integrated power plants.
The Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil, speaking to Channels Television, also expressed joy that the NIPP idea had become successful with other African countries, especially South Africa beginning to copy it.
The Governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, was also present at the commissioning.
The Olurunsogo Power Plant is already up and running.
A Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe, on Monday, said “President Jonathan is like Jesus Christ, who the Christian faithful call the saviour of the world”, because the manner in which he (Jonathan) bears the burden of Nigerians is the same way Jesus Christ bore the burden of the world.
“People do not understand the burden this president is bearing. He’s like Jesus Christ. He’s bearing the burden of everybody,” Okupe said while commenting on the state of the nation on Sunrise Daily.
According to him, the efforts of the government in fighting the Boko Haram insurgency as well as in power were being hindered by external factors, even as the nation gears up for the 2015 elections, which Okupe said would be impossible for Jonathan to lose.
“I can’t see GEJ losing this election; It’s not possible.”
On managing serious challenges in Nigeria and also campaigning for a second term in government, Okupe noted that “the beauty of executive is being able to multitask,” which he said was one quality the President had.
However, there have been complaints concerning two major issues – security and power.
On electricity, Okupe explained that Nigeria has been “under-powered” for many years, noting that in Ikeja, Lagos State, the electrical infrastructure on ground is about 35 years old.
He admitted that “power is a problem”, which was why the government was working to improve generation and distribution, through the power reform.
He also noted that the equipment were expensive which had caused the private owners to borrow billions of dollars. “We are not there yet but we are certainly on an irreversible road to better power supply,” he further insisted.
Asked why the government did not first work on changing equipment before increasing generation, which also costs money, Okupe said that there was a limit the government could do as power was controlled 100% by the private sector.
“In the power situation, we are not there yet. We are definitely on a road that cannot change,” he emphasised, hinting that the government is working on huge dam projects to allow the private owners work effectively on distribution.
He also claimed that government efforts were being sabotaged by politicians who sponsor vandals to attack gas pipelines.
“We noted that there were 10 NIPP projects which were performing below 50 per cent”, he disclosed, alleging that some persons were making sure they underperformed so as to make the government appear incompetent.
He, however, added that the rate of sabotage had reduced in the past year.
On the state of security in Nigeria’s North East region, Okupe commended the government’s efforts, noting that all aspects of the war against terror, including funding, administration were being worked upon.
“Today, the Nigerian Army is in total and perfect control,” of North East, he added.
On the recent comments made by Governor of Borno State, Okupe said the governor “never fails to amaze me”, adding that majority of problems of insurgency was situated in his state but he was travelling to Lagos, London and other nations, to discuss insurgency but failed to meet the President on the matter.
Okupe argued that Boko Haram was a “multinational, international insurgency arrangement in Nigeria” as the group had links with ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other international terrorist groups.
He also said he did not know about the identity of the sponsors as he was not working with security.
He also claimed that there were huge political considerations in the fight against Boko Haram, making an example of General Buhari, who Okupe said had polled over 12 million votes in the North in the last election.
Okupe alleged that Buhari had said any attack on Boko Haram was an attack on the North and that Buhari’s recent condemnation of Boko Haram was as a result of his fourth bid to become Nigeria’s president.
#BringBackOurGirls Not Time Bound
Speaking about the 219 schoolgirls in Boko Haram captivity, Okupe said “the issue of Chibok girls was (an) emotion(al) tragedy but it is a tragedy that we must bear with fortitude,” noting that issues such as rape, murder and other atrocities were common in war.
“Chibok girls are a major thorn in the flesh of the administration,” he explained, stating that “If it was possible to get them yesterday I know that this government would have done it”.
He also called for caution in the rescue mission, noting that “any mistake will lead to their death” and that there’s no time limit for returning the girls alive.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dr Sam Amadi, has said that the lasting solution to the power situation in the country is for the cost of gas to power to be competitive.
He said this during a conversation on the Friday edition of Sunrise Daily on Channels Television.
The Chairman explained that the power supply in the country has been low because the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), which was expected to generate 2500 megawatts of power, can only generate 600 megawatts.
He assured that by the end of the year, about 500million scf. of gas would be gathered from different gas projects which could add close to 6000 megawatts of power at the end of the year.
Mr Amadi, who had earlier said that a better power situation is primarily based on the generation of more gas, admitted that there were two weak links in the sector, one was capacity and the other was distribution, which is due to failure of network.
He suggested that if the distribution companies strengthen their network, improve capacity and change damaged installation, it would bring about more power, more revenue and therefore more investment in the system.
He disclosed that a lot was being done to achieve a better power situation in the country, as the plan of Federal Government is to offset 25billion Naira to old companies that supply gas to the private independent power plants and to also ensure more supply of gas to power.
He added that the debt being paid are both legacy owned by the power sector before the handover and debts accumulated since November, after handover.
He, however, added that only debt for gas would be payed, “debts of contracts, legal cases are not going to be payed but debts for gas used will be payed by CBN.”
He disclosed that the DISCOs would pay back the CBN based on tariff.
The National Coordinator, Professionals and Business Groups of the People’s Democratic Party, Aroma Salifu, has said that the new investors in Nigeria’s power sector are expected to set up customer centres to address existing or arising issues following the official handover of the sector to private companies.
While speaking from our Abuja studio, on Sunrise Daily, Mr Salifu congratulated Nigerians and the Federal Government on the hand-over of the power sector to private companies through a credible and transparent process. He thanked Nigerians for their support, optimism, and for being hopeful about stable electricity.
“The process has been credible, has been transparent, has been fair and has been very competitive as being demonstrated in the last one year.”
On the outstanding payment of some PHCN workers, he stated that “the federal government has worked assiduously to ensure that all those who are entitled to being settled in the entire process are being settled as such.”
The remaining workers who are unpaid will be paid after the verification exercise is completed, he said.
The privitisation of the sector which took effect on the 1st of November has been touted as the solution to Nigeria’s power problem and stakeholders have expressed hopes that the country is closer to a new era of uninterrupted power supply.
However, Mr Salifu has stressed that the system needs to be overhauled as “there’s no way you will suddenly get stable electricity overnight.”
He added that there is a need for significant investment in the sector as the challenge cuts across the three aspects of generation, transmission and distribution.
“There is need for significant improvement and overhauling of the capacity to meet up with demands,” he said.
He disclosed that the World Bank is currently supporting the sector with about 1 billion dollars and there is a projection of FDI’s to the tune of 40 billion dollars.
These developments and investments are expected to translate into constant supply of electricity.
Although the country currently generates about 3500 MW, with its highest record of 4500 MW in 2012, Mr Salifu assured that the NIPP will supply an additional 10,000 MW while the off grid sources including wind, solar energy, coal, are expected to supply another 10000 MW.
However, the current projections only cover those who are already connected to power and not communities which are not yet connected.
The aggregate demand of power in Nigeria stands at 12000 MW.
He assured that the National Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC) would ensure that the key players in the sector deliver what is expected to power consumers and “equally guarantee that consumers are not unfairly treated.”
“Since the private sector has taken over, it is a matter of time that generation is going to be improved upon significantly.”
The Vice President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Otis Anyaeji on Wednesday said that if the Federal Government continues with the pace it applied in the power sector since the 2009 then Nigerian may soon enjoy steady power supply.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Mr Anyaeji said achieving steady power generation is not the main issue but maintaining the power generated and the supporting infrastructure.
He said, “Certainly, if we continue moving at the pace the country has moved in power since 2009, there is no doubt that we are going to achieve steady, reliable power supply status in the shortest possible time and then maintain it at that because power development is not a senile phenomenon as it is an activity that has to go on at all times.”
He said to achieve the desirable power supply, Nigeria has to keep investing in power to add capacity and maintain what’s already on ground and continue to expand on these investments.
Mr Anyaeji said power generation goes with distribution and transmission and that Nigeria has and can achieve equal capacity in all the three areas.
He however noted that the major problem is capacity. He cited a a grid study done after the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) did some emergency installations of infrastructures to boost power generation saying the study found that the grid would not be able to take on those plants built by the NIPP, hence more projects for strengthening the grid.
The President, Nigeria Society of Engineers, Otis Anyaeji has said that with the increasing activities of the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), the erratic power supply in the country will soon be a thing of the past.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Anyaeji said the government had already entered into an agreement that will ensure that gas, a major ingredient in power generation, is on constant supply to power plants.
He said the reason for his optimism over the reforms is the change in the behaviour of both the government and contractors handling power projects.
“There has been steadfastness in all the stakeholders including the government, that’s what gives me the confidence to say that not only will this NIPP be carried through but even beyond NIPP. I think the behaviour has changed now, even in the government level and the contractor level,” he said.
The most significant measures taken by the government to re-jig the nation’s ailing power sector came in August 2005 when the National Council of State (NCS) and the National Assembly approved an initial funding of US$2.5 billion for the NIPP from the “Excess Crude Oil Account.
The Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) was thereafter incorporated as a limited liability company to serve as the legal vehicle to hold the NIPP assets. The mandate of the NDPHC included construction and expansion of the country’s power infrastructure to boost electricity generation and supply across the country.
In 2008, the National Economic Council (NEC) voted US$5.375 billion from the excess crude account as Power Emergency Fund (PEF) to complete NIPP. NEC also inaugurated the NIPP Steering Council in January 2009, chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan, then the country’s vice president with six state governors and four ministers as members.
The NIPP Steering Council, which has transformed as the board of directors of NDPHC is headed by Vice President Namadi Sambo. In February 2009, the council approved phase I budget of US$2.213 billion from the PEF of US$5.375 billion to complete the first phase of the NIPP projects. It also approved US$423.639 million to PHCN as special intervention fund.
In June 2010, the council approved US$123.110 million to augment the phase 1 budget and N1.750 billion to buy NDPHC corporate headquarters in Abuja.
With these funds, the NDPHC built several gas turbine plants, distribution and transmission equipment and lines in the country.
Mr Anyaeji said he is hopeful that these investments and the commitment of other stakeholders will ensure that Nigerians will soon start enjoying uninterrupted power supply.
The federal government has challenged contractors handling projects under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) to hasten action on meeting the December 2013 deadline for their completions.
Vice President, Namadi Smbo gave the challenge in Abuja while presiding over a project management meeting of the NIPP.
He noted that the level of work done by contractors handling the generation projects of the NIPP has improved, saying that most of the projects had been completed, while some were at an appreciable stages of completion.
He, however, frowned at the slow pace of work on some transmission projects across the country.
The VP expressed his delight with the present state of the nation’s power generation capacity, saying that as of December 31, 2012 about 4,517.6 megawatts were being injected into the national grid.
He warned that government would not take it lightly with any contractor who failed to meet the target of all the NIPP projects.
While commending those contractors handling the generation projects, he reiterated government’s commitment to the service delivery to Nigerians.
Vice President Namadi Sambo has revealed that most power plants belonging to the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) have been completed and would be commissioned in 2013.
Speaking in a special meeting on gas supply to power plants on Friday in the State House Abuja , Architect Sambo directed that all problems that may hinder the delivery of power especially gas supply should be addressed forthwith.
On the issue with the power plant at Sapele, which was the subject of the meeting, it was noted that the early gas system was delivering gas to the power plant but some issues needed to be solved.
The issues were intermittent high influx of condensation; unsatisfactory operation of the heater in service, which is currently not in service; the cooling effect and capacity limitation to 90mmscf/d to orifice plate and other factors.
The Vice President directed the experts handling the Sapele project to be in a meeting next week to discuss the solutions to the problems. The experts have designed a mechanism to arrest these issues.
Architect Sambo noted that he expects that he will be adequately briefed in the meeting on gas infrastructure, financing and securitisation and resolution on all issues including financial implications.
He noted that the Gas Aggregator should sign another 60mmscf to meet up the required amount of gas needed for the plant.
Earlier, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the World Bank is waiting for Nigeria to access the $600 million facility, which she said would assist in fixing some of the problems in the power sector.
She assured that there is nothing wrong in getting the facility.
Vice President, Architect Namadi Sambo has directed the Federal Ministry of Power to ensure speedy evacuation of power generated to ensure constant power supply.
The Vice President gave this directive, when he chaired the 24th Board meeting of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) overseeing the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP), at the State House, Abuja.
The Vice President expressed delight with the current generation capacity of over 4,200 megawatts of electricity, he however lamented the lack of integrity and associated problems of the transmission and distribution lines to evacuate the generated power.
Mr Sambo, noted that with the quantity being added to the national grid, Nigerians were experiencing improvement in power supply, and therefore directed the Ministry of Power and the NDPHC to ensure speedy completion of the transmission lines, and the injection substation for the delivery of constant and stable electricity to Nigerians.
He also directed that a meeting be convened to tackle the problem of gas supply to the power plants, which according to him was also militating against power supply.
In line with President Jonathan’s Performance Contract policy, the VP directed that the National Planning Commission to draw up a Performance Contract that will be signed between him and the Board of NDPHC.
He also directed the NDPHC to ensure that such Performance Contract trickles down and that all of its consultants sign the performance bond, which according to him would enhance service delivery.
Earlier the Minister of State for Power, Arc. Darius Ishaku, disclosed that the country is currently generating more than 4,200 megawatts of electricity, saying that the transmission and distribution network has integrity issues, which is affecting the adequate evacuation of the generated power.
He assured the meeting that the Ministry was doing everything possible to arrest the issue.
The Managing Director of NDPHC, who was represented by the Executive Director Technical Services; Mr. Louis Edozien, disclosed that the NIPP projects in Sapele, Alaoji, Olorunsogo and Omotosho were currently generating 1,350mw.
He however, noted that they would have achieved more but for gas supply as he also gave the assurance that progress was being made to ensure early delivery of all NIPP projects in the country.
The board under the chairmanship of the Vice President approved the purchase of replacement parts for Gas Turbines for Calabar, Egbema and Gabarin power plants from General Electric, the original manufacturers.
The board also approved the engagement of fire-fighting management providers for Olorunsogo, Sapele, Alaoji, Omotosho and Ihovbor power plants and the provision of gas pipe line to Geregu Phase II, NIPP power plant were also approved.
While the extension of project consultancy work for construction of Omotosho Phase II power plant was as well approved by the board.
The Senate on Monday summoned the Minister of Power, Barth Nnaji and the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah to appear before it on Tuesday (today) to explain the power outage at the main terminal building of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja which forced passengers aboard the British Airways and other airlines to remain in the plane for over an hour after they had landed.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Hope Uzodinma, who gave the order after inspecting facilities at the airport with members of his committee also summoned the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN); the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN); Julius Berger Plc and National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP).
Speaking with journalists after inspecting the airport to ascertain the actual cause of the problem, Mr Uzodinma said that the recurring blackout at airports is unacceptable and must be addressed immediately to save Nigeria from further embarrassment.
The committee members blamed the airport authority for not ensuring adequate power for their operations.
“Since the same thing has happened consistently about three times in the last three months, the development provoked our interest to come here to see things for ourselves. To know what really happened, the cause and to ensure that such ugly incident does not repeat itself again in future,” Mr Uzodinma said.
“We have been told that of the two dedicated lines of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to the airport, one has been recovered and given to the host communities, which is not a bad idea but the problem is that the recovered line has not been replaced. All over the world, airports are run on dedicated lines to avoid interruption.
“Secondly three of the generating sets procured and maintained by Julius Berger Plc that serve as alternatives, broke down at the same time. But in the wisdom of the Ministry of Aviation they have procured three new generators as replacement for the aging generators,” the Senator said.