Once the current challenges confronting the power sector are fixed, Nigeria will be able to generate 12,000 megawatts of electricity, the Minster of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said on Wednesday.
The minister said in spite of the challenges, the country’s power sector still possessed the capacity to advance its power generation, transmission and distribution potentials through other energy supply sources.
“There are many perspectives to do this. The country has today the capacity to generate at least 12,000 MW. If we fix all what is not working in the industry, including building any new power plant, the country would be generating close to 12,000 MW,” he said.
According to the minister, meeting that target has been difficult because out of over 140 turbines, only about half has been able to get gas to work with.
The nation’s power generating capacity, he said, reached 5,000 MW before the recent spate of vandalism of gas pipelines, adding that the industry was already heading towards another milestone prior to the recent outages as a result of the blow up at the Chevron oil platform.
Mr. Fashola said the repairs of the pipelines would soon be completed to take the industry back to about 3000 MW capacity, adding that his ministry was looking at ways to bypass and evacuate condensates, so that more gas could be supplied and the industry able to generate up to about 3,800 MW.
Lamenting the sabotage of the Chevron Escravos-Lagos pipeline system, Mr. Fashola said the incident took the country’s power generation capacity down to 2,500 MW.
However, he said significant progress was being made to solve the challenge of electricity generation in the country.
On crazy billing by power distribution companies to consumers, the minister advised consumers to demand electricity meters to ensure that they were paying for only what they actually consumed.
He said once consumers get their meters, the new tariff would protect them from being disconnected, since it was the duty of the service provider to prove that the customer used the power.
“That is the incentive government has put in place to protect the citizens so that the DISCOs can increase their metering,’’ he said
Underlining the importance of accelerating gas production in the country, Mr. Fashola said that could be achieved by giving access to private companies involved in the business of gas production.
“Government needs to open up more access. There are companies interested in harnessing and producing gas being flared in the country’s domestic economy.
“These companies are interested in constructive arrangement with joint venture and profit sharing on wells where there is oil production and gas production. Government should give them an opportunity. ”