" /> Power sector reform: Challenges and way forward | Hallmarknews
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  OPEC production falls to six month low

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  Lafarge names Alode new company secretary

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>

Recent posts

  • 2017: Investors look back in defiance

    By TESLIM SHITA-BEY The year 2017 was not supposed to be a happy one. Inflation was 18.72 per cent at the beginning of the year, unemployment had jumped a few hoops to settle at 25 per cent for those between the ages of 18 and 25, while lending rates had gotten stuck in a band […]

  • Profit taking drags equities market down

    The All Share Index (ASI) of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) was down -1.00 per cent on back of profit taking by investors. The bourse closed at 38,534.64 basis points against Tuesday’s 38,924.63 and its year-to-date returns to stand at 43.39 per cent. The equities market hits the 39,000 mark last week and attained three […]

  • Lafarge names Alode new company secretary

    Lafarge Africa Plc has appointed Mrs Adewunmi Alode its new company secretary. In a release signed by the company’s group managing director, Michel Puchercos, which was sent to The Nigerian Stock Exchange on Wednesday, Lafarge Africa stated that her appointment takes effect from December 12, 2017. The new company secretary who had held several positions […]

  • OPEC production falls to six month low

    Oil market may not stabilize before end of 2018 despite Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production reaching six month low in November as U.S. production continues to increase than expected. The Wall Street Journal quoted the oil cartel to have said Wednesday in its monthly oil report that production declined by about 133,500 […]

  • Breaking: 20 vehicles burn as tanker explodes in Festac

    No fewer than 20 vehicles and four commercial motorcycles were on Wednesday afternoon burnt when a tanker laden with petrol fell and spilled its content on the Festac Link Bridge in AwuwoOdofin LGA of Lagos State. The fire started at noon and raged for about an hour Vehicles burn as tanker explodes in Festac area […]

  • Gunmen break into Magu, EFCC chair’s home, shoot police officer dead  

      Some yet to be identified gunmen, Tuesday broke into to the Abuja home of the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu and shot dead a police sergeant attached him the Cable reports  The tragic incident was said to have occurred around 10pm. The attackers reportedly stormed the house […]

  • I fear Nigeria might break up- Awolowo-Dosunmu

      By Obinna Ezugwu Daughter of late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. (Mrs) Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu has expressed deep concerns about the survival of Nigeria, noting that the country may likely disintegrate if not restructured. “I don’t even want to imagine it (Nigeria not being restructured) because we have come to a breaking point,” a visibly […]

  • How Buhari tackled Jibrin over ‘budget padding’ scandal

      The Cable A simple question from President Muhammadu Buhari to Abdulmumin Jibrin, former chairman of house committee on appropriation, put paid to his allegation of “budget padding” against Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives, a new book has revealed according to the Cable. Jibrin had alleged that the 2017 budget was padded […]

  • Lagos govt evicts GIG motors, Peace, GUO, other transporters from Jibowu

      Obinna Ezugwu Lagos State Government on Tuesday sealed off the premises of major transport companies including God is Good Motors, Peace Mass Transit, Chisco Transport, GUO Transport Ifesinachi and other companies in Jibowu area of Yaba, Lagos. Justifying the move, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Olufemi Salami who acted on the approval of […]

  • World Cup: FIFA deducts points from Nigeria, fine NFF for fielding ineligible player in qualifier

    By Obinna Ezugwu Nigeria has come under a heavy hammer by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) disciplinary committee  for fielding an ineligible player, Shehu Abdullahi for the World Cup qualifier against Algeria on November 10, 2017, a statement by the committee said on Tuesday. The world football’s governing body fined Nigerian Football Federation […]

  • UPP commends PDP on successful convention, extend hand of fellowship

    By Obinna Ezugwu United Progressive Party (UPP) has congratulated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the successful conduct of its December 9 convention and tasked it to join hands with other credible opposition parties to deepen the country’s democracy This was contained in a statement signed by the founder and National Chairman of the party, […]

  • Nigeria lacks leaders with moral compass – Amb Keshi

    By Obinna Ezugwu Former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Joe Keshi has decried what he called the lack of moral compass among Nigeria’s political elite, noting that poor leadership was the country’s biggest challenge. Keshi who bared his mind in a chat with BusinessHallmark in his Lagos home recently, regretted that virtually all […]

  • Non Yoruba in S/West inaugurate forum, vow to take rightful place in zone’s politics

    By Obinna Ezugwu Political and cultural leaders of various ethnic groups resident in the South West, Saturday last week at Ota, Ogun State, came together under the aegis of Non Yoruba Indigenes Empowerment Initiative, to seek ways of working together for a fair deal in the zone’s polity ahead of the 2019 general election. Various […]

  • Don’t celebrate yet, agitation for restructuring not over- Uko warns presidency

    By Obinna Ezugwu Founder, Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) and Secretary General, Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA), Evang Elliot Uko has warned against any suggestion that the South East geopolitical zone has been “forcefully” and “violently” pacified as according to him, such is false. Evang Uko who is also the Deputy Secretary of Igbo Leaders of Thought […]

  • Nigeria’s Debt Service ratio falls to 45%

    Nigeria has made significant improvement in its debt-service-to-revenue ratio as it dropped from 66 per cent to 45 per cent. This is coming on the back of improved revenue mobilisation from both domestic and foreign sources. The government has been aggressively driving its tax reform with the introduction of Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme […]

  • Banks’ NPLs reach 10-month high in Q3

    FELIX OLOYEDE Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) in the Nigerian banking industry hit 10-month in September, latest data from the the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has shown. The report quoted by CNBC states that NPLs in the Nigerian banking sector reached N2.42 trillion at the end of Q3 2017, which is 10-month record high. Muyiwa Oni, […]


Visit us on Google+