New investors for power sector soon –FG

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The Federal Government Thursday said it would soon call for bid from new investors in the power generation and distribution chain following failure of the current investors to improve the nation’s electricity industry.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, dropped the hint at the commissioning of the power substation infrastructure built by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, NDPHC, at Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.

He said that the Federal Government has already taken the decision to further open the electricity sector to new investors after realising that the national grid system can’t meet the power demand of consumers.

Government he said has approved substantial change strategies backed by various policies that will encourage more investments to the industry.

According to him, the present administration has made some remarkable impact by boosting installed generation capacity to 13,437 Megawatts, MW, and available capacity to 8,342 MW, and 7,000 evacuation capacity, adding that the inability of Distribution Companies, DisCos, to deliver grid power to end users have significantly distorted the efforts of government.

He noted that power distribution companies’ insufficient infrastructure has restricted distribution to about 4,000MW and at peak periods 5,400MW.

He said that government has identified weakness of the DisCos which include inadequate capital to provide needed infrastructure and metering challenges among others.

He stated that in order to resolve these challenges, government introduced the Meter Asset Provider, MAP, scheme to resolve the lingering metering challenges in the system, adding that so far the DisCos have received and processed about 250,000 applications from customers, and that hopefully the number would quadruple by end of the year.

He expressed optimism  that with the implementation of the MAP, the industry would be able to close the 5.3 million metering gap existing currently.

He said other measures taken by government include the Siemens Phased Electrification Roadmap, which was flagged off recently by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said that under phase 1, Transmission and Distribution would be able to deliver 7,000 MW, and  under phase 2, 11,000 MW would be achieved while 25,000MW is targeted under phase 3.

He explained that government expects the DisCos to recapitalize and come up with resources to improve on their services, but even at that the market is set to welcome new investors in the distribution and generation sub sectors.

In his speech, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, of the NDPHC, Chiedu Ugbo, said that the company’s contribution to the Transmission grid system has transformed the hitherto radial 330Kv/132KV grid into a more robust grid system with significant provision of alternative power flow routes which no serve as redundancies and which has resulted in a more reliable and stable grid.

He recalled the commissioning of the 220- kilometer long 330 KV Double Circuit lines providing alternative supply routes to Abuja and the FCT from Geregu through a new Lokoja substation, a new Gwagwalada substation into the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Katampe and Apo substations with several significant substation developments along that route.

He added that between 2015 and now about 30 NIPP Transmission Projects inherited by present administration have been completed while over 70 Distribution Projects have also been completed across the 6 geopolitical zones.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Usman Mohammed, said the company has significantly improved its services and is now not regarded as the weakest link in the industry chain.

Mohammed said its wheeling capacity has improved to about 8,000 MW but lamented that DisCos are frustrating efforts of the company by rejecting load.

According to him, most substations are stranded due to inability of DisCos to take load adding that all the substations put in place in Kano State today are idle as DisCos are not willing to take up to 30 per cent of power from them.

He appealed to government to intervene by extending funding support to the DisCos but warned that the TCN may be prompted to take over any Disco that is not willing to take load from existing stations.

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