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Minister blames ‘obsolete and weak equipment’ for power failure

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

Grace Cofie

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The Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, has said obsolete and weak equipment are the major problems affecting electricity transmission and distribution in the country.

He made this statement at the House of Representatives, on Thursday, that the drawdown on the N160b bilateral loans secured for power projects across Nigeria has been deferred to 2022.

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The Minister, while responding to the questions from lawmakers, on the strife between the Transmission Company of Nigeria, generation and distribution companies, said “the power is mostly privatized. Some of the responsibilities are outsourced.

“Our partners are at the generation and distribution levels, and the government is handling the transmission. And for it to work effectively, all of them must be up and doing. As it is now, we have serious challenges here and there along this value chain.

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“Apart from the three major players, we have an interface, because the generators need fuel, either from a natural source, which is the hydro, which contributes about 20 per cent of the generation, or gas to fuel their plants. So, this is another challenge. And you know how gas is in the international market.”

Aliyu further said, “Another interface is also between the generation and transmission, then, transmission to distribution. Now, the installed generation capacity, as you all are aware, is up to 13,000 megawatts. But it has to reach the customers before it becomes useful.

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“So, what is going on is that the transmission, due to lack of attention to it for a very long time–not now, has culminated in the situation we are having on transmission, whereby they have to deal with obsolete and weak equipment, which need to be replaced. Some that are replaced need back-up incase there is a trouble that can be tackled immediately.”

“The distribution network is also facing the same problem. So, these two–the distribution and the transmission–are what we have been trying so hard to upgrade to ensure that we raise their operational capacities to a level whereby they will be able to evacuate what we have in the generation. There are various interventions going on,” he said.

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Aliyu said a total of N301.258b was proposed for the ministry and parastatals in the power sector for the 2022 fiscal year, adding that machinery had been put in place to endure efficient implementation of the 2022 budget.

“A national programme had been launched to provide an alternative power supply for strategic Federal Government buildings and military formations, using renewable energy, particularly solar photovoltaic,” he said.

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