The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has berated the Chief Executive Officer of Egbin Power Plc, Mr. Dallas Peavey for telling the eight-member Congressional delegation from the United States that weak transmission infrastructure had stalled the evacuation of 700 megawatts of electricity from the power station.
ThisDay reported that Peavey also told the Congressional delegation led by Senator Christopher Coons, who is a member of the Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Ethics Committees, that the plant was being owed N125 billion for power supplied to the national grid, a revelation, which also irked the power minister.
But in his remarks at 19th Monthly Meeting of the Power Sector Operators hosted by the Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) at the Akangba 330/132/33KV Transmission Station in Lagos yesterday, Fashola insisted that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) currently has the capacity to transmit 6,500 megawatts, adding that gone were the days when only Americans would know if there was a problem in Nigeria.
The minister, who was visibly angry with the Egbin CEO, added that before the US Congressmen visited Egbin Power Station, Peavey had raised the alarm that the huge debts owed the generation companies would plunge the country into darkness.
“In my response, at the time, I believe I mentioned what government was doing about verifying MDA (ministry, departments, and agencies) debts and how to deal with legacy debts, which we inherited. I also admonished all operators in the sector, to act in a manner consistent with their leadership role and the public expectation of all of us, to find solutions to problems, project hope, and not fear,” Fashola said.
The minister noted that despite his admonition, the Egbin CEO told the visiting Congressmen the power plant was owed N125 billion and could not evacuate 700MW as a result of transmission constraints.
Fashola argued that Peavey did not tell his visitors how that N125 billion was made up.
The minister, who did not clarify further on the Egbin debt, however, argued that the MDA debts owed to Discos had been verified and instead of claims in excess of N90 billion submitted as owed by the federal government, only about N27 billion has been established by verification.
He accused Peavey of not telling his visitors that government had approved a payment assurance guarantee for all power produced to the grid and that some payments have been made and others are being processed as reported at the Kano monthly meeting and the Abuja meeting in July 2017.
Fashola reminded the Egbin CEO that his company either knew of these debts when his employers bought the plant or failed to do the due diligence that would have disclosed the debts to them.
“It is true that there was a time in our recent past that only Americans would know if there was a problem in Nigeria. That time has passed,” Fashola added.
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Fashola stated that Peavey lied when he told his visitors that the power station could not evacuate 700MW, stressing that TCN’s wheeling capacity has exceeded over 6,500MW.
The minister accused Peavey of inciting other generation companies “to refuse to comply with grid codes and regulations made pursuant to the Electric Sector Power Reform Act of 2005 prescribing frequency levels of operation for power generating companies.”