Minister Says Jonathan Fulfilled Power Promise

NERCThe Minister of Power in Nigeria, Professor Chinedu Nebo, says President Goodluck Jonathan has fulfilled his promise of power to the people but for the ‘gas war’ which has remained an obstruction to steady supply of electricity.

Despite huge disenchantment by the people over the power situation, the Minister on Wednesday insisted that it could get better in the near future if the new government would tackle the issues of pipeline vandalism and adopt renewable energy to generate more power.

A spokesman for the All Progressives Congress, Lai Mohammed, had put current power generation in Nigeria to a little above 1,000 megawatts for a population of over 160 million people.

The drop in generation in the last few months, had affected most businesses in Nigeria which rely hugely on electricity generating sets for power.

Channels Television’s correspondent, Gloria Ume-Ezeoke reports that government authorities have blamed Nigeria’s electricity power crisis that had further deteriorated in recent times on sabotage and insufficient gas to run the country’s power plants.

During the 2011 presidential campaigns, President Jonathan made a deluge of promises, including provision of steady power supply, raising the hope of Nigerians, who have for years been groping in darkness.

Despite the worsening situation, the Minister of Power said the government had done well for the sector but for a few lapses.

The government has opened up the sector with the unbundling of its stakes in the Power Holding Company of Nigeria in 2013 to allow private sector participation.

But more importantly, the outgoing administration has asked the incoming government, taking over on May 29, to treat the power challenge, with focus on pipeline vandalism.

FG To Set Up National Council On Power

Power plantThe Federal Government of Nigeria has is planning to establish the National Council on Power to achieve the goal of providing sustainable power supply.

When established, the National Council on Power would assist in formulating useful policies and providing the much needed manpower in the power sector.

Speaking at a meeting in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of State for Power, Mr Mohammed Wakil, urged members of the council to use their expertise to make useful observations to the Federal Government to improve the nation’s power sector.

The Nigerian government had in November 2013 concluded the privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, but the process has not yielded much in the sector, as the total power generation is bellow 6,000 megawatts.

The government had said it would welcome more investments in the sector to boost the power supply, which experts said would create jobs and grow the economy.

Nigeria Must Seek Committed Individuals To Achieve Reforms — Saakashvili

Mikheil-Saakashvili2A former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, says Nigeria can reform its power sector if it seeks committed individuals that are determined to bring the needed change.

Speaking at the Lagos Economic Summit on Tuesday, Mr Saakashvili highlighted that Georgia was able to reel out of high crime and corruption rates, a situation he said was worse than Nigeria’s current state, by sheer determination to have a Georgia that the world would recognise for good.

He gave detailed breakdown of how the reform was achieved, emphasising that corruption must first be tackled in order to make meaningful headway.

“When I became the President of Georgia, I met a failed state, with high crime and corruption rates, one of the highest in the world.

“We had to do very fast reforms in Georgia and two months as president I fired the police because it was difficult to reform the Police. The police was much part of the problem rather than the solution.

“We had to refurbish the whole sector but we first of all killed corruption. We had to believe in what we were doing and we brought in people that believed that this is their country, their future and all they have,” Mr Saakashvili stated.

He also suggested that the government should decentralise the process of doing things in order to achieve more results in the shortest possible time.

“When you have the central government taking every decisions there is the tendency that processes would be slowed down,” he said.

The former Georgia president, however, pointed out that “genuine reforms come with some form of suffering that the people will have to bear”.

According to him making power available would help to reduce the rate of crime in any country.

“With cameras and lights everywhere, criminality is very easy to control and you can generate the power that would be enough for Nigeria if you will put your heart to it with commitment and without personal interest at heart,” he said, stressing that there is really so much amazing human energy in Nigeria that could be turned to good.

“It takes human effort to do it,” he added.

The Lagos State government had invited Mr Saakashvili to address the Summit, as Georgia, before he became President, had some challenges facing Nigeria today.

The Summit is looking to proffer solution to the state’s power challenge.

With a population of over 20 million, the state requires over 10,000 megawatts of electricity, but it is currently relying on 1,000 megawatts from the national grid.

Power Reforms: Senate Demands End To Estimated Billing

Power PlantThe Nigerian Senate has asked the managers of electricity to discard what it described as estimated billing in charging consumers, saying the method was not in the best interest of Nigeria and its people.

It requested that the electricity companies should instead provide pre-paid metres to meet up with modern day challenges in electricity sector.

This is in response to complaints by post-paid electricity consumers that they are billed arbitrarily by distribution companies.

During an oversight visit to some independent power station project sites in Kaduna on Saturday, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Philip Aduda, urged the companies to sustain the pace of work and ensure that the project would be completed soon.

The Managing Director of Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, Mohammed Idris, said the issues of estimated billing and monthly service charge should be decided on by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), saying that the distribution companies do not have the power to review the billing system. 

He commended the committee for its contribution to the successes recorded so far, in the on-going privatisation of the power sector.

“The new investors for Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, North West Consortium, have paid 25 per cent of the approved bid price.

“There are 18 national integrated power projects in Kaduna State, with only seven of the projects fully completed while others are at various stages of completion,” he said.

The committee visited power station sites at Gonin Gora, Narayi, Airforce Base and also the 215 Kaduna Power Plant at Kundenda.  

When completed, the power stations are expected to supply enough electricity to Kaduna metropolis and rural.

At some of the sites, the senators expressed satisfaction with the level of work executed by the contractors handling the projects, while they also asked the contractors handling the Ungwar Dosa and Mando sub station to hasten up and ensure that the projects are completed on time.

While at the 215 power plant being handled by Rockson Engineering Limited, the contractor told the committee that the project would be ready for commissioning by December 2014.              

With the assurances by the contractors handling the various power projects in Kaduna State to complete the projects on time, the lawmakers expressed optimism that the contractors would live up to expectation and be able to deliver the projects according to the stipulated period in order to improve power supply in the state.