LAGOS— Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, yesterday, refuted claims by the management of Egbin power station on the inability of the Transmission Company, TCN, to evacuate over 700Megawatts, MW, generated by the company a couple of weeks ago.
The company contended that it generated 300MW against projected 700MW.
Meanwhile, the minister’s figure negated industry’s data on power generation schedule, which put generation of Egbin at 599MW against its wheeling capacity of 1, 320 megawatts.
This was disclosed at the 19th power sector stakeholders meeting, organised by the management of Eko Electricity Distribution Company, EKEDC.
He said: “The management of Egbin had said the debts owed to power generation and distribution companies would lead to a collapse of the power system. The comment was not well intended because government was already verifying Ministries, Departments and Agencies’, MDAs, debts and how to deal with legacy debts it 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. I advise that we should all be factual in our public comments and refrain from being bombastic.
“We must promote hope and not project fear to people who entrust us with the responsibility to solve their problems.’’
He recalled that a group of United States senators visited Nigeria and Egbin Plc where Mr. Peavey is employed.
Citing media reports on debts owed Egbin, Fashola said: “Egbin said the government owed the power sector N125 billion and that Egbin Power Plant could not evacuate 700 MW of power because of TCN failure to provide the capacity to do so.
“I am compelled to use this platform to respond to these allegations. Let me start by saying that Egbin did not tell his visitors how that N125 billion was made up.
“It did not also tell them that MDA debts owed to Distribution Companies, 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.”
However, Fashola said the transmission capacity had improved above what the DISCOs could receive.
He said: “We also reviewed the progress and the problems we are trying to solve in the communities like Egbema, Olorushogbo, Omotosho, Magboro in Ogun State. But we have reports that repairs at Magboro have been completed.
“The inability of some communities as Egbema to have energy for years has been looked upon and work is in progress according to report.
‘’We also reviewed some communities in Ondo North and out of 36 communities, 16 have got power supply, while 20 communities’ developments are still in progress,’’ he said.
On metering, he noted that the regulator, Nigeria Electricity Regulation Commission, NERC, has engaged the DISCOs on possible way forward to solving metering crisis across the country.
Fashola said: “Five commissioners from NERC will be holding a consultation meeting with the DISCOs to discuss issues relating to tariff, regulations and penalties for those who disobey the law by bypassing the meters.’’
He further explained that the seized destruction of gas power pipelines by militants in the Niger Delta had caused the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and its subsidiaries to repair their pipelines.
According to him, this situation has led to more gas-for-power compared to last year’s statistics.