The federal government has approved about N200 billion for the power sector to boost the supply of gas to the electricity generation companies (GENCos).
The Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, who disclosed this on Wednesday, said the provision was part of the government’s effort to boost electricity supply during the lockdown period.
Me Kyari spoke at the end of his meeting with the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, and the Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Usman Mohammed, at the Ministry of Power in Abuja, according to an official statement.
“The federal government has approved the payment of over N200 billion to the power sector in the two or three days. This will go a long way in making sure that those payment issues are resolved. We are engaging as the government to make sure that those payment issues are fully settled,” the NNPC boss said.
He said the meeting was held at the instance of the minister of power to further improve on gas supply to the power plants.
Mr Kyari said he would visit some of the power plants on Thursday to ensure any hitch in the system was sorted out to give Nigerians stable electricity supply during the period of lockdown.
Mr Mohammed assured that although there was sufficient gas to supply, there were several power plants that do not have gas supply agreements.
Such agreements, he said, spell out the terms and conditions under which gas is supplied by the suppliers to the buyers.
“The suppliers always divert the available gas to other places, and from time to time, the government always face some constraints in the supply of gas to electricity producers, which is a big problem,” he said.
Mr Mohammed said “the minister prevailed on the GMD of NNPC to assist in the supply of gas to the power plants, to allow for more sustainable power supply going forward, especially during the current period of COVID-19 pandemic.”
Also at the meeting was the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Chiedu Ugbo, who said the NIPP GENCos under the company’s operations would get the gas fund and pay up.
He said the NDPHC would soon receive its part of the payment and has already assured the GMD of NNPC that as soon as the NDPHC was paid, payment vouchers would be ready, for the immediate remittance to the gas companies.
He said the Calabar NIPP was the only plant with a standard gas supply agreement.
With the availability of gas during this period, he said electricity generation could be ramped up above 400 megawatts (MW) when every other plant was down.
On the distribution section, Mr Ugbo said his firm has been intervening by providing 500KVA transformers, wires and cables to replace faulty ones in the networks of the DISCos to ensure there was more access to electricity during this period.
The TCN MD also said DISCos needed investment in the transmission infrastructure to evacuate more electricity to consumers.
“The order NERC (Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission) issued recently is going to assign responsibility on the side of the DISCos for them to be able to pay for capacity they fail to take.
“That will compel them to put up the necessary investments in the network and meter customers,” Mr Mohammed said.
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