By Ogaga Ariemu
The Managing Director, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Mr. Chiedu Ugbo said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has completed about 80 major distribution projects through the NDPHC across the country to ease the infrastructural gaps bedeviling the power sector.
He stated that Federal Government has targeted achieving 7,000 megawatts(MW) power generation capacity in one year, 11,000 megawatts(MW) in three years.
Ugbo, in an exclusive interview with Nigerian NewsDirect expressed that through Nigerian National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), the NDPHC is working across all value chains, from electricity generation, its main business through interventions in numerous transmission, distribution projects across the country.
In a bid to bridge the infrastructural gap in the power industry, he said the NDPHC now has eight power plants connected to the National Grid with about 4,059 installed ISO capacity.
According to him, “As I am speaking now 126 mega watts is coming in one or two months.”
Regarding the perennial tariff gap, he said, “In terms of tariff, we have also had an issue with tariff, from NDPHC perspective; we do not sell electricity to end users until now that we are trying to sell as a result of the ‘eligible customer regulation’ by Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), which is based on the declaration made by the Honourable Minister of Power Engr Saleh Momoh.That was why we want to be selling power directly to customers.
“So, the NDPHC before now has been selling to Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) company and then sell to the Distribution Companies (DisCos).
“The DisCos serve the last man, and they had always argued that the Tariff provided to them by the regulator is not cost reflective.
“That also had a direct impact on us owing to the fact that we sell electricity in Bulk to NBET, then NBET to DisCos. When the money is coming back, it is always seriously below the amount invoiced for this reason that the DISCOs offered..
“In order to make sure the DisCos are able to cover the cost, the cost here includes everybody that have provided services across the value chain. There was need for that Tariff increase, which the government has now done.
“With the tariff increase now, excuses will be eliminated. We are expecting at NDPHC that the excuses or a situation where we are being paid less than 30 per cent of the annual average of our invoices which was the case before the Tariff increase, will become a thing of the past; we are expecting that our invoices will be substantially fully paid.
“Of course, we are expecting our invoices to be fully paid because for every invoice we send out, gas cost is about 65-70 per cent and these are new power plants running efficiently with huge gas cost. When you are paying me 20-30 per cent, that means I cannot pay my gas suppliers and that means by implication gas suppliers sooner or later will shut us out.
“So, we are hoping that with the increase in tariff, there will be more efficiency in the system and of course we will be able to supply electricity effectively to Nigerians; we have the capacity in terms of installed capacity to supply electricity reasonably to Nigerians except for this challenge over tariff increase. So, the government has been very responsive.”
He said that the government through the NDPHC is specifically focused on cluster of distribution, transmission interventions that would upscale the gains in the power industry and make life better for the generality of Nigerians.