By Etuka Sunday
The Federal Government yesterday approved the sum of N200 billion for improved gas supply to the power Generation Companies (GenCos) so as to boost electricity supply to Nigerians during the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari disclosed this after a meeting with the Minister of Power, Engr. Saleh Mamman and the Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr Usman Gur Mohammed at the Ministry of Power in Abuja.
Kyari said, “The federal government has made payment of over N200 billion for power in the two or three days, this will go a long way in making sure that those payment issues are resolved and we are engaging as government to make sure that those payment issues are fully settled.”
The GMD noted that the meeting was held at the instance of the minister to further improve gas supply to the power plants.
“I will visit some of the plants by tomorrow to make sure that any curtailment that is in the system is sorted out and ultimately Nigerians during this period of lockdown will have better access to power,” Kyari noted.
The TCN head, Mr Mohammed said there is gas availability but there are several power plants that do not have gas supply agreements. “The suppliers always divert it to other place and from time to time, we always have constraints of gas and that is a big problem to us.
“With this meeting that has taken place and for the fact that the Minister has prevailed on the GMD of NNPC because we are still the same government, to asset in the supply of gas to the power plants, we believe that we are going to have more sustainable power supply going forward especially during this period of COVID-19,” Mohammed noted.
Managing Director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Mr Chiedu Ugbo said the NIPP GenCos under his operations will get the gas fund and pay up. “We will soon get our own part of the payment and I assured the GMD of NNPC that as soon as NDPHC is paid, we have our payment vouchers ready, all we will is do is press the button and remit what goes to gas.”
He noted that Calabar NIPP is the only NIPP plant with gas agreement. “Thankfully, the gas was there during this period and we ramped up production. We did 400 megawatts (MW) of power when every other plant was down.”
On the Distribution section, Ugbo said his firm has been intervening by providing 500KVA transformers, wires and cables to replace faulty ones in the networks of the Distribution Companies (DisCos) to ensure there is more access to electricity during this period.
TCN MD also said DisCos need investment to evacuate more power. “The order NERC issued recently is going to assign responsibility on the side of the DisCos for them to be able to pay for capacity that they fail to take. That will compel them to put investment in the network and will compel them to meter customers,” Mohammed said.