The federal government has approved N200 billion for the power sector to improve gas supply to the Power Generation Companies (GenCos) and boost electricity supply by the Distribution Companies (DisCos) during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown period.
The Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, disclosed this yesterday after a meeting with the Minister of Power, Engr. Saleh Mamman and the managing director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Usman Gur Mohammed at the Ministry of Power in Abuja.
He said, “The federal government has made payment of over N200 billion for power supply, this will go a long way in making sure that those payment issues are resolved and we are engaging as government to make sure that those payment issues are fully settled.”
Kyari said that the meeting was held at the instance of the minister to further improve gas supply to the power plants.
“I will visit some of the plants by tomorrow to make sure that any curtailment that is in the system is sorted out and ultimately Nigerians during this period of lockdown will have better access to power,” Kyari said.
The TCN head, Mr Mohammed, said that there is gas availability but there are several power plants that do not have gas supply agreements.
“The suppliers always divert it to other places and from time to time, we always have constraints of gas and that is a big problem to us.
“With this meeting that has taken place and for the fact that the minister has prevailed on the GMD of NNPC because we are still the same government, to assist in the supply of gas to the power plants, we believe that we are going to have more sustainable power supply going forward especially during this period of COVID-19,” Mohammed stated.
The managing director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Mr Chiedu Ugbo, said that the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) GenCos under his operations will get the gas fund and pay up.
“We will soon get our own part of the payment and I assured the GMD of NNPC that as soon as NDPHC is paid, we have our payment vouchers ready, all we will do is press the button and remit what goes to gas,” he said.
He noted that Calabar NIPP is the only plant with gas agreement.
“Thankfully, the gas was there during this period and we ramped up production. We did 400 megawatts (MW) of power when every other plant was down.”
On the distribution section, Ugbo said that his firm has been intervening by providing 5,00KVA transformers, wires and cables to replace faulty ones in the networks of the Distribution Companies (DisCos) to ensure there is more access to electricity during this period.
TCN MD also said DisCos need investment to evacuate more power. “The order NERC issued recently is going to assign responsibility on the side of the DisCos for them to be able to pay for capacity that they fail to take.
That will compel them to put investment in the network and will compel them to meter customers,” Mohammed said.
REA Electrifies 4 COVID-19 Isolation Centres With Mini Grids
Meanwhile, the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has electrified four COVID-19 care giving facilities with Solar Hybrid Mini-Grids.
A statement signed by the MD/CEO of the agency, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, explained that two completed Solar Hybrid Mini-Grid plants in Abuja and Lagos centres were handed over to the authorities yesterday, while the two others were slated to be handed over on Thursday, 16th April, 2020 in Ogun State.
The projects handed over to the authorities at the health centres included a 53.1KWp solar hybrid mini- grid installed at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital COVID-19 Isolation Centre, 25KWp solar hybrid mini grid at Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Public Health Laboratory in Lagos.
The other two to be handed today are a 20KWp solar hybrid mini grid at the 128-bed Ikenne Isolation Centre and 10KWp solar hybrid mini grid at 100-bed Iberekodo Isolation Centre in Ogun State.
”This initiative is being implemented by the agency to complement the efforts of the federal and state governments as well as the private sector in containing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the country,” the statement said.