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Published On: Thu, Apr 4th, 2019

Concerns over $34m debt, as FG commissions Kashimbila Hydro-Power Project in May

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By Etuka Sunday

One of the major targets of President Muhammadu Buhari led Administration is to make electricity available and affordable for the poor million Nigerians across the country.
That could be seen from the incremental power regime of the present administration, which has so far delivered visible results and recorded qualitative progress.
The quality of work done at the Kashimbila Hydro-Power shows that the present administration is truly determined to overcome the 66 years of darkness in the country.
At Kashimbila for instance, the quality of the project is about the best in the Country. An inspection visit to the project site located in Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State revealed so.
The Kashimbila Power Evacuation Project has three (3) components: As a multipurpose dam, it was designed primarily to check the threat of over flow from the structurally weak volcanic Lake Nyos, located upstream along the Cameroon line of volcanic activity.
The Federal Government said that if the river course is not checked, flooding and possible sub-merging of many Communities in Taraba, Benue, Cross River, Kogi and Delta States would be inevitable, which would affect more than six (6) million people.
Other components of the dam include water supply to 400, 000 people as part of integrated water resources management requirements and irrigation components of 3000 hectares of irrigable land. It is also envisaged that the dam will promote tourism and alleviate poverty while creating hundreds of jobs for Nigerians especially, the indigenes of the communities.
For power generation and evacuation, the dam is100% completed since 17th October, 2017, the dam is spilling very well and the turbines are ready to deliver 40megawatts to the national grid. However, the evacuation project is 90% completed. With available funds, the project would be delivered next month (May).
Unfortunately, concerns are beginning to mount as to whether the Federal Government has the will to pay the outstanding debt of $34, 794,998.65 since only N388, 459, 4496.00 was captured for the project in the 2019 Budget.
The project scope of works includes:132KV /33KV Double Circuit Lines.The erection of Kashimbilla – Takum (132kV Double Circuit Line – 65km), Takum – Wukari (132kV Double Circuit Line – 75km), Wukari – Yendev (132kV Double Circuit Line – 105km) and Wukari – Donga – Rafin Kada (33kV Double Circuit on Galvanized Steel Lattice Structures Tower – 40km).
Switchyard, 132KV/33KV Substations and Line Bays: 132kV Switchyard at Kashimbilla, 2x60MVA, 132/33kV Substation at Takum, 2x60MVA,132/33kV Substation at Wukari, 2x132kV Line Bays Extensions at Yandev and complete Rehabilitation of Yandev Substation in Benue State, 2×7.5MVA, 33kV Substations at Donga & Rafin Kada, with associated distribution network facilities, 2×7.5MVA, 33KV Substation at Kaskimbilla Switchyard and 33kV distribution network to Kashimbilla town, Bibi/Bawuru, Birama, Ibete, Lanke, Malumshe Communities, etc [Inter Township Connection (ITC) and Township Distribution Network (TDN)].
The project is expected to cater for power needs of about 80% of Taraba South Senatorial District. It is also expected to serve as a corridor for the evacuation of power from the 3,050MW Mambilla hydropower plant through the ongoing 132kV Takum and Wukari substations.
The Project Manager, Kashimbila Power Evacuation Project, Engr. Abubakar Ali Dapshima, who is an Assistant Director in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing said, many ongoing and completed Rural Electrification projects that are in the region which could not be energized/hooked to the national grid due to lack of sources of power supply and abandonment could be energized with the completion of the Kashimbila project.
“It will create employment for residents in the region during construction and thereafter by providing better electricity supply.
“The dam area is in a rich agricultural area and improved power supply in the region will enhance agricultural development in Taraba, Benue, Adamawa, and Plateau States. Also, being a Multi-purpose dam with an airstrip, Kashimbilla’s untapped tourism potential could be better exploited.
“The completion of this project will also lead to power improvement nationwide, as well as address global challenges in the area and also will demonstrate Federal Government of Nigeria’s commitment to renewable energy and serve as Government Corporate Social Responsibility to its citizens.
“Once completed, the power station will be operated as an independent power station on the national grid to ensure recovery of funds invested in its completion.
“The energy production per annum is 236GWhrs which translates to N5.7B per annum (N15,733,333.33 daily) will be generated and the savings in CO2 emission is 141,600 tones/annum,” he said.
Engr. Abubakar however, said that “the non-completion of the power evacuation component and non-putting into use of the turbines and its electromechanical components is negatively affecting the project by as follows: – the siltation at the intake of the power house has increased from 5000m3/year to 10,000m3/year as a result of non-operation of the turbines. This constitutes additional cost on the project for the removal of deposited siltation.
“Due to non-operation of the turbines and the generators, heaters are provided in order to keep the generators warm to avoid hydraulic condensation and damage (rust) to the turbines. This also constitutes additional cost to the project. Cats were deployed to prevent rats from destroying installed cables in the Hydropower station.
“The contractor is working hard to meet up with the completion period scheduled for May, 2019, with adequate funding the power evacuation project will be completed/delivered at the scheduled date,” he said.
Engr. Abubakar said the four (4) turbines (Generators) are generating 12.5megawatts each, amounting to 50megawatts. Adding that all the substations are automated which means that one could mobile phone App to control them from Abuja.
Speaking on compensation, he said, initially, five (5) communities where captured for compensation, but that the number has now increased to ten (10). “We will try and accommodate them, because, it will be difficult when you say later”.
On his part, the Project Manager of the Contractor (S.C.C Limited) handling the project, Engr. Michael Rolbin, listed his challenges to include: Funding (Budget), Logistics and Security. Nevertheless, he assured that the project would be completed in May, 2019.
“We started this project in 2016 with survey, detailed design of the project, evacuation of affected communities, compensation and demolition. The actual work started in 2017.
“The main challenge of this project is logistics because this project is laying across 300km and is within a very volatile area, with a lot of security challenges-Taraba clashes with Benue, Robbery and Kidnapping.
“When we started, the communities gave us all the support we needed. They were working with us, protecting us and we are together. On my own personal effort, I have direct interest to help them. You know the power lines pass through a lot of communities so, on our part we have employed (1000) a lot of youths from the communities especially Kashimbila and opening a lot of access roads for the communities.
“We have huge outstanding debts; consequently, we are reducing man power because of lack of payment. I’m sure the FG will meet its obligation and pay the money.
“In this project, there is no single company from China. We imported everything from Europe. We could have saved a lot of money if we buy from China, but we refused to compromise our standards,” he said.
He said, Kashimbila could generate 300megawatts if the capacity of the reservoir is increased but that would lead to trans-boundary crisis.
The Kashimbila Hydro-Power Project was built with SCADA system and Optical Fibers to protect high voltage lines by monitoring them constantly. This supervision requires the transmission of information between the power substations in order to ensure correct operation while controlling every alarm and failure.
The Chief of Kashimbila, Alh. Zakari Musa, Gargadin 8, thanked the company (S.C.C) for the security provided for the communities.
He requested that his people should be the first to benefit from the power project.
He pleaded that all the goodies (Developmental efforts) coming to Kashimbila community should be equally extended to other communities, so they would not accuse him of taking bribe.

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