Operators across the value chain of the country’s power sector have expressed regret over an electrical accident in Lugbe area of the Federal Capital Territory which resulted in injuries and unfortunate loss of lives.
The operators which gathered to review the highs and lows of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) during the 7th monthly stakeholders meeting held at the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) sympathised with the communities affected and called for a full investigation into the accident by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).
However, even before then the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had ordered an investigation into the incident when the commissions’ team, led by its acting chairman, Dr Anthony Akah, visited the site for an on the spot assessment of the incident over the weekend.
Meanwhile, the operators’ meeting which was presided over by the minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, however, acknowledged the efforts of the Benin DISCO in making improvements to their network. The DISCO was commended for connecting previously disconnected areas, stringing additional 472km of lines as well as metering more than 100,000 households. The minister also noted some positive developments towards achieving incremental power, such as the recent initiating of power purchase agreements (PPAs) to provide solar power from no less than 12 companies which should add almost 1,000 megawatts (mw) after implementation.
Fashola, who said the formal power purchase agreements will be signed shortly, also noted that the Azura Power Plant being constructed in Edo State is on schedule and when completed will add 450mw to the national grid to further boost power supply.
Similary, officials of the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company informed the meeting that the DISCO had conducted a review of its transformers, adding that it had rehabilitated and energised about 20 transformers which should result in improved service in its coverage area.
Fashola in his remarks reiterated the need for the distribution companies to intensify efforts to complete DISCOs’ financed metering while winding down the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Initiative (CAPMI). This, he maintained, is to ensure that customers do not unnecessarily bear the cost of installing meters.
The CAPMI, which was initiated by the NERC, allows willing to customers pay in advance for meters while the DISCOs are expected to install such meters for the customers within 45 days and refund the money through energy cost over a period of time. While further emphasising the need to protect consumers from estimated billing, the minister called on the DISCOs to aggressively pursue the execution of their agreed metering plans to address the challenge of widespread unfair estimated billing.
On transmission, officials of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) informed that repairs on the Okpai-Onitsha line have been completed even as the company reported that power has now been restored to Maiduguri. The TCN also noted that the restoration of transformers to Rimin-Zakara in Kano State will be completed in 2017. According to the TCN, other ongoing projects aimed at supporting electricity distribution under the Benin DISCO franchise area include a substation in Akure which is 85 per cent complete and the completion of a substation in Ughelli, currently being inspected by the Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA).
On gas-to-power, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) which acknowledged current gas constraints to the power sector, however, assured of steps to improve gas supply to power plants. This, the corporation said, include restoring previous supply levels by completing repairs on vandalised pipelines by September 2016, in addition to new supply from alternative sources.
Source : Leadership