Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Tuesday said the present administration has done better in power generation, transmission and distribution than the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did in 16 years of its administration.
A statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday from the minister’s media office said Mr Fashola made this known while speaking at the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce (NSACC) breakfast forum.
The minister explained that the achievements of the present government would be better felt if compared with the ‘realities’ it met on ground when it took over the reign of power in 2015.
“If you do not define your goal against your reality, progress will be difficult to recognise,” Mr Fashola said. “As to where we were in 2015, power generation was averaging 4,000 MW; transmission was averaging 5,000 MW and distribution was averaging 3,000 MW.
“As to what we promised, I stated in my very first public briefing in November 2015 that contrary to previous practice, we were committing to a journey; first of getting incremental power, with the plan to proceed to steady power, and ultimately get uninterrupted power.
“I made it clear that our intention was to improve your power supply experience gradually rather than discuss the megawatts as quantum of power, and that any reference to the megawatts would be measuring milestones of our progress in the journey of incremental power.”
Three years after the present government took over, he said, records show that from 4,000MW, generation has reached 7,000MW, averaging incremental generation of 1,000 MW every year since 2015.
Similarly, the minister said transmission has reached 7,000MW from 5,000MW, averaging 666 MW of incremental transmission every year and distribution peaked at 5,222MW in January of this year, from about 3,000 MW in 2015, averaging 740 MW incremental distribution capacity every year.
Although Mr Fashola said the nation has “moved the needle forward” and there is progress, the government has not finished its work, he said.
“How far we can go depends on what those of you who will decide who forms the next government do when you vote,” he said.
“You will compare our record of three years with what we met after the previous 16 (sixteen) years. If you compare our performance record in three years with the 16 – year record of the previous administration in the areas of Generation, Transmission and Distribution you will get the following instructive results: Incremental Generation of 1000MW per year against 4000MW in 16 years which amounts to 250MW per year; Transmission capacity improvement by 666MW per year against 5000MW in 16 years which amounts to 312.5MW per year ; and Distribution capacity improvement by 740MW per year as against 3,000MW in 16 years which amounts to 187.5MW per year.
“You will also compare the resources available to us in the last three years, with what was available over the previous 16 years. In addition, you will have to ask yourself whether you are running your generator for longer or shorter periods today, than in 2015; and also whether you are spending more to buy fuel for your generator than three years ago.
“Those of you who are well-meaning and right thinking know the answers.”
The former Lagos State governor added that feedback from consumers also reflect the impact of the results being underscored, citing instances of consumer testimonials from Magboro, Mowe and other parts of the country.
Mr Fashola explained, however, that there are people still unserved or not well served, adding that “the good news is that there is a mechanism put in place by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to monitor complaints by Consumers with a total of 166,543 complaints resolved out of 262,096 from January to June 2018.”
The minister said Nigerians will also have to compare this government’s plans for tomorrow with the plan of the others, in relation to prospects for the future.
Mr Fashola disclosed that by end of this year, another 945 MW will be ready for supply from the following power plants: Azura (450MW), AFAM IV (240MW), Kaduna (215MW) and Kashimbilla (40MW). In addition, he said, between 2019 and first quarter of 2020, Zungeru (700MW) and Okpai II (450MW), both totalling 1,150MW, should come into operation.
“These do not include about 7,000MW of installed but inoperative power plants that are constrained either by gas supply or transmission capacity or both, about which action is being taken,” he said.
“It does not include independent power plants now under construction in nine federal universities with a plan to scale to 37, neither does it include 15 independent power projects targeting major markets now under construction to power 85,000 shops and small businesses.”
On the transmission side, he explained that the government has finalised a 10-year transmission expansion plan from 2018 to 2028, just as it has recovered 690 containers of power equipment abandoned at the ports as part of the legacy of the previous 16 years, and deployed them to the sub-stations they were originally meant for.
Currently, “there are not less than 90 transmission sub-station projects at different stages of construction,” he added.
On distribution challenges, the minister said 11 companies that distribute power were sold to private investors and it is their responsibility, not that of government, to supply distribution equipment like breakers, transformers and meters.
“So, if there is any problem there, as indeed there are, it is private businessmen who should solve this problem,” he explained, adding that their ability to respond partly depends on what government does.
The minister explained further that there is 7000 MW of power operationally available but distribution can only take 5000. He said government has engaged with Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to offer the rights to take the 2,000MW and enunciated the Eligible Customer Policy for consumers who take up to 2MW and beyond.