By Etuka Sunday
President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to power utility regulators across West Africa to ensure strong and proactive regulation with penalties to force electricity firms to give quality services.
Buhari disclosed this on Friday at the 14th Session of the General Assembly of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) in Abuja.
Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, he said, “Local and regional regulation must be strong. It must be firm, effective, proactive; technology and knowledge driven. This is the sure way of deriving quality performance from the service providers. Regulations must be taken seriously and penalties applied when necessary to instil discipline in the entire market.”
He gave the North Core Transmission Project launched on Thursday by WAPP to include 876 kilometres, 330KV transmission line from Kainji in Nigeria through the Republics of Niger, Benin and Togo and terminating in the Republic of Burkina Faso.
“It will facilitate a huge power exchange in the region. This and all the other projects in the WAPP master plan should be vigorously pursued by all stakeholders,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Power, Engr. Saleh Mamman said he was impressed with WAPP role of interconnecting the 16 member countries of ECOWAS.
“Considering the electricity challenges of our various countries, the way forward for the region is to ensure the integration of our power systems.”
Mamman said Nigeria has abundant gas resources and that the present administration is strengthening power sector capacity to generate and export low cost electricity in the region.
He mentioned some projects like the 3050 megawatts (MW) Mambilla hydropower plant, and the 330KV Nigeria, Niger to Burkina Faso interconnection project in Nigeria meant to support the regional electricity growth.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Executive Board of WAPP, Mr Usman Gur Mohammed said, “It is our hope that 2020 will mark a significant landmark in our effort to create a functional electricity market. With the completion of the Ivory Coast-Sierra Leone- Guinea interconnection line and the Guinea Bissau to Senegal and Gambia line.”
Mohammed who is also the Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) said, the WAPP Information and Coordination Centre (ICC) in Benin Republic will be completed in 2020 and equipped to monitor power exchanges and trade across West Africa.
The Managing Director of Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited (MESL), Engr Lamu Audu said the firm seeks to recover more capacity and is currently rehabilitating Kainju Unit1G7 which upon completion next year will add 80MW to the national grid. We are also executing contract to recover Jebba Unit2G6 which will add another 96.4MW.