" />
Published On: Tue, Aug 1st, 2017

Power sector reform: Challenges and way forward

BABATUNDE FASHOLA|

I accepted this invitation for many reasons. First it was conveyed through Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi who served with me meritoriously as Honourable Commissioner and Head of PPP Office and he implored me to do the best I could to make time to accept. I thank you for inviting me to be your guest lecturer at the 2017 edition of your public lecture series.
Secondly, the topic which focuses on “Challenges and the way forward” resonates with my view of the power sector and I believe that of many, who acknowledge that the sector has challenges; more importantly the topic is solution driven and positive in outlook which is consistent with my attitude, that, instead of recrimination, reproach and cynicism, we should look for the way forward.
I will like to say that many right thinking and well-meaning Nigerians are now taking this view, which is that the problem of power in the country can be solved, and we all have different but very important roles to play.
I will come to this as I proceed, but I must warn that this may be a fairly long speech, because there is a lot to say, and because there is a lot happening in power, and more importantly because I believe one of the most important things I can do as a Minister is to simplify what is going on for the benefit of the public and to discuss it using street level terms and not technical terms. The bottom line really is that people want to know when they will have stable electricity, why they do not have it, and what government is doing about it.
Permit me to share with you, what our road map is.
We recognise that our power supply is not enough and what we have done is do the simplest thing, get more power.
So our road map seeks to get, first incremental power, progress to stable power, and then achieve uninterrupted power. From this road map it must be clear to any right thinking and well meaning person that this is a journey and not an event that will happen overnight.
As we progress on this journey, we will get to critical milestones from which we can look back and say we are now better off at that milestone, than when we started the journey. I understand the urgency of now, to get the power, I understand the high level of expectation. I know that they come from many years of broken promises and a change from government-managed power to privatisation of power.
While I fully support privatisation, I believe what took place in 2013 in the heat of politics was a privatisation that was well intentioned since 2005 but delivered with some deception in 2013 with the expectation of political profit.
It led many uninformed Nigerians to believe that once the privatisation was concluded, the assets sold to the Distribution companies (DisCos) and the Generation companies (GenCos) there was immediately going to be power.
I cautioned then that people’s expectations were being unduly raised without telling them that there was a lot of work to do. While I believed that the APC government will do a better job, little did I expect that I would inherit the problem. But I am grateful for the opportunity from Mr. President, to contribute to solving a problem that I am deeply passionate about and I will offer nothing but my best while I am at it.
As I have said, there are challenges, which is why I accepted this invitation, and they can be solved, which is why I have come to share my thoughts about the way forward. I have also pointed out that we have a road map whose first objective is to get incremental power and this means power from gas, solar, wind, coastal waves, hydro dams, nuclear and bio mass. I have also pointed out that all of us have roles to play.
I am inspired by the history of Nigeria that whenever we have united to confront a problem, we have never lost. The number of Nigerians interested in generating power is increasing daily and this is encouraging. This is evidenced by dozens of letters and proposals I get daily, even though they are wrongly directed to the Ministry, because power is now privatised. There are people who know about it, there are those seeking to make money from it, there are those who know absolutely nothing about it but are still seeking to try. The positive I take away from it is that we are increasingly looking in the right direction.
I will share a story with you, first for its humour and secondly for its consistency, with our road map to get the incremental power. I had received a text on my telephone, one of the many hundreds I get daily since I published my telephone number many years ago.
This particular one was interesting because the sender alleged that he had found the solution to our energy needs and was wiling to share it with me. I called him to discuss this “novel” idea he claimed to have. He then referred me to a news report that showed how somebody was generating electricity from a potato.
I then took the time to explain to him that this was not new technology but indeed what we had shared with school children in my time as Governor, in the Power Kids Club that we set up to introduce people to the fundamentals of electricity early in life.

READ  PDP leaders’ visit to Babangida’s residence in pictures

Just as I was preparing this speech, one of my former state Executive Council members who served with me referred me to an online publication about generating electricity using biomass.

Ladies and gentlemen, these two instances confirm what I said about:
a) Increasing interest of Nigerians in solving the power challenge, which is positive and welcome.
b) Generating incremental power from all viable sources.

The hard truth is that generating electricity from potatoes or cow dung is possible. The question is viability and sustainability. First, how much cow dung can we produce to keep the power going? Because even countries who have enough cows, like Brazil and can export beef, don’t use cow dung for power. Similarly, how much potato can we produce to fire our power needs?

In any event, in a country where there is poverty and hungry people, and with the proven calorific and nutritional values of potato, I think it would be a poor choice to use it for power generation as opposed to using it for nutrition and well-being of children and people.
I will shortly come to specifics of what we are doing to resolve the challenges, but permit me as I have just clarified the situation about cow dung, potato, (which also by the way applies to all those who want to generate electricity by using waste) to also explain what I think is fundamental about power. It is that there is no real problem in buying and installing a power plant. It is not different from you buying and installing a generator in your home.
The problem starts when you cannot get diesel or petrol, just as we usually don’t have enough gas supply either because of production shortages or vandalism.

READ  66 people feared dead in Iran’s plane crash

The problem with your generator starts when you have to connect your neighbour and issues arise as to how you share the cost or what appliances your neighbour or even your family can switch on when the generator is running especially if it is not a very big one, in order to avoid damage.  The problem arises if the generator needs maintenance or repairs. Can you use it during repairs if you don’t have a backup?

What is true of the generators we install for ourselves is essentially true of the power plants we have as a country.
Those plants are nothing more than big generators. We connect them through 330KV wires, 132 KV wires, 33KV wires and 11 KV wires that transmit the power from the plant, carrying them across several hundreds of kilometres, injecting and sending them through about 183 sub-stations to the distribution companies before they get to our homes, offices, schools and so on.

In the process wires snap, equipment gets damaged by us or by natural wear and tear and requires replacement. Most of it, we have to import because we do not have enough as backup, the plant is not available during repairs.
In order to get incremental power therefore, we have resolved to use all our sustainable energy sources like hydro, gas, wind, solar, and coal (not potato and cow dung) and work is now going on at:

For Hydro –
a) Zungeru Hydro plant in Niger for 700 MW
b) Kashimbilla Hydro plant in Taraba for 40 MW
c) Dadin Kowa Hydro plant in Gombe for 29 MW
d) Gurara Hydro plant Nigeria for 30 MW
e) Later this year work should start on Mambilla Hydro for 3,050 MW
As for gas plants, there are many already such as:
Egbin 1,320
Geregu I & II
Omotosho I
Omotosho II
Olorunsogo I
Olorunsogo II
Alaoji
Ibom
Calabar
Ughelli to mention just a few, all of which are challenged by Debts owed from the previous administrations, lack of sufficient gas or vandalism of existing gas lines or a combination of them.

Gas supply is the responsibility of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and its parastatals like NNPC, Nigerian Gas Company and others.

We are working with them to improve on supply of gas to these plants to ensure that their redundant capacities and idle turbines come back into operation to produce electricity.

We have just concluded repairs on Afam IV Power Plant that was plagued by a damaged transformer which we replaced in order to restore 100 MW of gas fired power to the grid.

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • War has been provoked between Yoruba and Fulani- OODUA Redemption Alliance declares

    War has been provoked between Yoruba and Fulani- OODUA Redemption Alliance declares OBINNA EZUGWU At the end of its security summit held in Ibadan on Thursday, the OODUA Redemption Alliance resolved to end what it called gradual incursion into Yoruba land by herdsmen who they accused of continuing the Jihad of Usman Danfodio. The group […]

  • It would be utterly irrational for Nigerians to vote for Buhari again- Junaid Mohammed

    Second Republic lawmaker, Dr Junaid Mohammed has noted that President Muhammadu Buhari has performed poorly in office and it would be irrational for Nigerians to vote for him in 2019. Dr Mohammed who made the assertion in an interview with Vanguard on Saturday, also criticized Buhari for being a poor reader who according to him, […]

  • Bayelsa tour: Obasanjo lays foundation for refinery

    Former President Olusegun Obasanjo continued his visit to Bayelsa State after inaugurating some projects of the state government on Friday. The former president continued his tour of the state on Saturday with the laying of the foundation for the establishment of Azikel Refinery. The refinery is owned by Dr Eruani Godbless, a prominent businessman and […]

  • Quite notice, hate speeches and President Buhari’s Northenisation/Islamisation agenda by Professor Ben Nwabueze

    Quite notice, hate speeches and President Buhari’s Northenisation/Islamisation agenda by Professor Ben Nwabueze NATURE OF HATE SPEECHES In the aftermath of the divisions in the country caused by President Buhari’s Northernisation/Islamisation Agenda, as manifested in his lopsided strategic appointments that unfairly favour the North as against the South, and the complete exclusion of the South-East […]

  • Chief Adeniyi to Tinubu: Withdraw your support for Buhari or risk losing influence in Yoruba land

    OBINNA EZUGWU Veteran columnist and elder statesman, Chief Adetola Adeniyi has warned former Lagos governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu against supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term bid, as according to him, such could mark the beginning of the end of his influence in Yoruba land. Chief Adeniyi who led the Global Intelligentsia for Buhari, a […]

  • Killings: Buhari condemns action, sends Defence Minister to Zamfara

    President Muhammadu Buhari has strongly condemned Thursday’s massacre of innocent persons in Birane village, Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State. The President stated this in a statement issued on Friday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, following the death of at least 18 persons as a result of […]

  • Obasanjo visits Jonathan at Bayelsa residence

    Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday visited former President Goodluck Jonathan at his home in Bayelsa State. Dr Jonathan welcomed the elder statesman who was in his home for a private dinner, in company with his wife, Patience. Earlier before the visit, former President Obasanjo inaugurated a government specialist hospital in the state and unveiled […]

  • NNPC dispatches 29.058m litres of PMS to 13 states

    The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said it supplied a total of 29.058 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol to thirteen Northern states in three days. In its report on daily dispatch to filling stations made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday, it named […]

  • Lagos will bring about world class childhood disability intervention-Joyce Onofowokan

    An area in which different levels of governments in Nigeria have remained loudly silent and painfully indifferent is childhood disability. Children with disabilities and their parents have over the years ridden on waves of disillusion, despair, and decay. They constitute a tribe of the silent minority that the society has conveniently allowed to disappear into […]

  • Ports now more efficient with FG’s reform – Izuwah

    The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has said that Nigerian ports were now witnessing more efficiency following the reforms of the Fedearl Government. Mr Chidi Izuwah, Acting Director-General of the commission said this during an inspection tour of facilities of the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) in Rivers state. The acting DG said that the policy […]

  • Power: Nigeria gets $486m W/Bank credit

    World Bank has approved a 486 million dollars credit facility to Nigeria for electricity grid improvements, the lender said on Friday. “The investments under the Nigeria Electricity Transmission Project will increase the power transfer capacity of the transmission network and enable distribution companies to supply consumers with additional power,” the World Bank said. Nigeria’s  power […]

  • Army places N3m bounty on Boko Haram leader

    The Nigerian Army has announced a cash reward of N3million for information on Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. “The Nigerian Army will give out Three Million Naira (N3,000,000.00) cash reward for any credible information that leads to the arrest of Abubakar Shekau, the fugitive factional Boko Haram terrorists’ group leader,” a statement by the Director, […]

  • Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn resigns

    Hailemariam Desalegn, A day after President Jacob Zuma resigned as South African President, Ethio­pian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, Thursday announced his resignation in a televised broadcast amid political turmoil in Africa’s fastest-growing economy. The announcement came just after the government released hundreds of political prisoners, including some of the most prominent opposition members in the country, […]

  • FRSC officials donate blood to accident victims in Osun

    The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Officers, Ilesa Unit, has donated blood to improve health delivery schemes as well as to save accident victims. Speaking at the occasion, Mr Samuel Oyedeji, the Ilesa Unit Commander Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) said on Wednesday, that the blood donation programme was organised to mark 30th Anniversary of […]

  • Zuma’s exit ushers in new South African President

    South Africa prepared to welcome wealthy former businessman Cyril Ramaphosa as its new president Thursday after scandal-tainted Jacob Zuma resigned under intense pressure from his own party. Zuma announced he had stepped down in a late-night television address in which he took some digs at the African National Congress (ANC) party that had threatened to […]

  • Zuma resigns

    Jacob Zuma has finally bowed to pressure and stepped down from office as South African President The embattled president made the announcement in a broadcast to the nation on Wednesday evening, noting that he has stepped down “with immediate effect.” Zuma has been under pressure to step aside following allegations of corruption. On Tuesday, he […]