Politics

BREAKING: Minister worries over under utilisation of nation’s power plants

Minister of Power, Mr Adebayo Adelabu, has expressed concern at the level of under utilisation of Olorunsogo and Omotosho power plants due to gas shortage.

Adelabu expressed his worries during an official inspection to the plants in Abeokuta and Akure on Wednesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Olorunsogo power plant 2 has installed capacity of 750 megawatts but generates 87 megawatts while Omotosho’s 500 megawatts generates only 125 megawatts.

The minister said: “I am impressed with the size and the technology of the power plants here; their operational history is also impressive.

“And I am amazed at the level of under utilisation of these power installations.

“Each of them operates below 25 per cent capacity. When we are still complaining that power generation is low in this country,” he said.

According to him, the under capacity utilisation is due to a variety of reasons.

“The major part of it is the shortage in gas supply to these installations which was why I needed to see these plants myself.

“To look at what we can do to improve the operational capacity of these plants.

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“What can we do to repair those turbines that are down?

“What can we do to support these power plants to operate at impressive capacity so that power supply will improve nationwide?” he queried.

He, however, noted that with what was seen at the plants, there would be further discussion with the management of the companies.

Adelabu also said that he decided to visit Olorunsogo and Omotosho power plants, which are power generating companies under Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), owned by the government of the federation.

He said the visit was part of his nationwide visit to power installations of the federal government, to physically inspect and monitor the physical state as well as the operational state of these power plants.

“We have been to Olorunsogo and we are now in the Omotosho power plants. These are big power plants with over 450 MW installed capacity.

“Our visit is to also see how we can collaborate to ensure that the federal government comes into their assistance and to support them to improve the operational capacity and consequently improve the level of power supply to the distribution companies.

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“I believe that these companies are currently undervalued and before they can be disposed, I think a number of things need to be carried out by the federal government, to ensure that they are brought to a higher capacity and their valuation improves,” he said.

The minister said that the country would be losing if the plants were sold at their current state.

“I believe the country will be losing.

“We have invested so much in these power installations. I mean they are just about 12 years old.

“But if you look at the running hours of all the plants that we have in this conference, they are almost close to being new plants. Almost all of them are below 30,000 running hours since inception”, the minister explained.

To improve gas as a source of power generation, the minster said the top echelon of the ministry would need to dialogue on the formula to boost the power generating plants.

He explained that if government was not willing to fund subsidies, it would be better to migrate to cost effective tariff.

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He assured that frequent drops in power generation being experienced by Nigerians due to gas would be improved soon, adding that the ministry will offset part of the gas huge debts.

Chief Executive Officer, Niger Delta Power Holding Company Ltd., Mr Chiedu Ugbo, who described the company as a strategic national asset, also attested to its technical capacity.

Ugbo said that the company had commenced a programme, tagged, “Light-Up-Nigeria”, which is aimed at attracting industrial clusters, who are not on the grid, by providing them electricity at cost effective tariff through distribution companies.

“This will make us to be assured of the liquidity and gas availability that can be paid for promptly to meet payment assurance.

“We have started this in Agbara in Ogun State, also going to South-East and South-South, among other geo-political locations.

“Our emphasis, as a company, is to focus on resolving the electricity supply challenge through NDPHC’s Light-Up-Nigeria initiative,” he said.

Ugbo added that the inadequacy of gas volumes poses a challenge in ensuring generation up to the TCN-allocated evacuation capacity, let alone reaching the full capacity of the power plants.(NAN)

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