The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has attributed a colossal loss of 3000 megawatts in the last six months (between April and September) to consistent vandalisation and sabotage of the country’s pipelines and assets.
Fashola who gave this disclosure at the Wilson Centre, Washington DC, USA on the sidelines of the just concluded United Nation’s meeting said,
over 3000 megawatt of power had been lost over the last six months due to consistent vandalism and sabotage of oil and gas pipelines and assets. He added that the generating cap acity of the hydro plants was enhanced as their turbines, abandoned and not maintained for over three decades, received due attention pointing out that the increase in rainfall would not have meant much if the turbines were not repaired.
According to him, In the last one year, we have done a lot of repairs and maintenance work so that every year, of course, there is increased circle of rainfall and water levels, but if you have three turbines and only one is working, you can only depend on one. So where we had one working, we now have two, where we had two, we now have three. The hydros are giving us almost 400MW of power and that is a lot of power given our situation. And we have added about 1MW of Solar and there is more on the way. The Minister had earlier promised that current boost in power would be further strengthened by various transmission projects currently being carried out in several axes of the nation’s six geo-political zones.
TCN’s controversy On complaints attributing the transmission TCN, as the weakest link in the power chain, Fashola, argued that progress was being made in the expansion of transmission, adding that it would be consistent with achieving incremental power within the value chain. He stated that among areas listed to undergo such expansion projects include: the Eastern Axis where the Ikot-Ekpene – Alaoji Transmission project takes off up to Enugu from where it would boost power all the way to Markurdi.
He also hinted that local issues that earlier hindered work, such as that of Itu and in Abia State had been resolved. He further added that some of the transmission projects had been completed, saying work was ongoing in the Kano-Kaduna Transmission Station, Lambe Transmission Station, Kumbotsu Transmission Station and the Alagbon Transmission Station in Lagos, among others. Continuing, he said,
We have finished the one in Okada in Edo State and there are more that have been awarded this year; the Gurara Transmission to take power from Gurara into Kaduna is nearing completion. It is a site I have visited so work is going on.
However, Fashola dispelled fears from some quarters that with Manitoba Hydro International out of the picture, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) would not be able to cope with the energy transmission capacity in the country assuring that the company was capable of carrying the capacity effectively.
He said, “The transmission capacity of TCN is well over 5,000MW as we speak today. The capacity we have ever generated is 5,074MW. So we can carry what we generate today.
We are not vulnerable as not to transmit what we have. Frowning at what he described as generalization in just describing the TCN as the weakest link in the electricity value chain, the Minister, who likened transmission to a transport system, noting that building transmission station that would be beyond the capacity of the amount of power produced in the power chain would attract extra cost, Fashola, however, said government was planning for expansion of the Transmission segment of the sector because of idle power that is stranded as a result of lack of gas