The Federal Government said the Nigerian electricity sector recorded a shortfall of 3,000 Megawatts (MW) due to inadequate gas supply to power plants.
However, the country’s power generation stagnates at 3,729 MW, the Minister of Power Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, expressed optimism that functional pipeline would increase electricity output to 6,000MW.
Achieving a 6,000MW capacity of electricity is expected to save the country from noise pollution, emanating from generators.
Speaking at the 12th Monthly Power Sector and Stakeholders Meeting in Ibadan, hosted by Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) on Monday, Fashola said sabotage of gas assets and pipelines has decommissioned power plants and their ability to provide up to 3,000 MW of power.
He said sabotage of gas to power plants has also created debt problem, shortfall in power expectation, and therefore, shortfall in cash recovery. “And we see that they pay more when the power is more stable. “Now, the reason why I have gone through this is just to reiterate that all of us have an understanding of the problems and all of us have different roles to play in solving those problems,” he added.
He said the scheduled visits by the Vice President to the Niger Delta to engage the communities is aimed at negotiating with the militants to stop the vandalism while the issues that agitate them can be treated and resolved.
“I believe that if we are successful as we expect to be, we should be able to sometimes this year recover all the 3,000MW that has been lost to gas pipeline outages,”he added.
The minister said government had made some progress in resolving some of the liquidity issues in the power sector, saying “I believe that within the last one month, some of the payments that were due to some of you ought to have been remitted by Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) as they promised.
“If they haven’t been remitted, I sure you it is only procedural process. The approvals have been given; you will get the money.
“But what is more important is that we have spent the last month holding top-level government meetings to identify the debts owed to the gas companies and the generation companies and in the shortest possible time that it will require us to do so. We intend to settle the outstanding liabilities, debts and to provide a comfort assurance from government that every month those who actually produce power will get paid. So, we will conclude that very soon.”
Commenting on complaints regarding service delivery from a town called Ago-Iwoye under IBEDC’s distribution area, Fashola said the community was complaining about incessant load shedding of power supply and this is a matter for Transmission the Company of Nigeria really.
He said there is a need to install an additional 60MVA transformer, which is currently going on at Ijebu-Ode.
“I am told that the project has since stalled; so TCN to note and brief us in the course of local issues on transmission,” he added.
He commended the management of IBEDC for the progress recorded in improving their distribution assets.