Power Supply Peaks at Record 4,237mw

::By Chineme Okafor
Power supply in the country has reached a peak capacity of 4,237megawatts, Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji announced Tuesday.

Nnaji in a statement from his media aide, Mr. Ogbuagu Anikwe, in Abuja stated that the increase however excludes national spinning reserves and that this is the highest power output ever to be generated in the country.

Disclosing this development to Directors in the ministry, Nnaji attributed the sharp increase to gas availability, praising efforts of the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke in delivering on the promise to supply gas to thermal plants in the country.

He said: “Gas is coming up gradually and when fully stabilised, we can easily hit 5,000mw.”

The minister also said in the statement that although water levels have also improved at the dams, hydro power plant managers at Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro are operating a management system designed to ensure that there is water for power all year round.

“We can have more power if we decide to use what is available at Shiroro, for example, but we do not want to do that,” he noted.

Accordingly, Nnaji stressed that the transmission backbone has been able to wheel the power produced effortlessly, adding that when President Goodluck Jonathan assumed office in May 2010, the quantum of power generated in Nigeria was about 2,800mw.

He explained that the figure spiked by 1000mw within one year, mostly through recoveries from existing plant capacities and that by January 2012, the generation capacity had peaked to about 4,100mw.

Recall that the minister had in April assured Nigerians that there would be considerable improvement in power supply from the end of July 2012 in view of scheduled increase in natural gas supply from the NGC, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and in the volume of water at the lakes in the nation’s three hydro power stations at Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba.

Meanwhile, THISDAY was reliably informed Tuesday that Manitoba Hydro International, the Canadian firm that was contracted by the Federal Government to manage the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) on a three-year efficiency boosting management contract has not been able to resume at TCN up till now.

A source at the ministry disclosed to the paper on condition of anonymity that members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) have prevented expatriate staff of Manitoba from gaining entrance into the premises of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) corporate headquarters, which also houses the TCN in Maitama Abuja.

The source noted that following this development, staff of Manitoba have equally refused to resume work at the utility considering the very hostile treatment they got from the union which allegedly locked up entrance into the premises irrespective of the presence of military personnel stationed there.

Manitoba was scheduled to resume duty on July 31, 2012 according to terms of the N3.72 billion ($23.72 million) three years transmission management contract it signed with the government but the same source stated that: “What we are dealing with are rather acts of desperation, garnished with mischief making.

“The union leaders met and decided that the best way to pursue their ongoing attempts to delay the privatisation exercise was to invent some excuse to stop Manitoba Hydro from taking over TCN.

“Obviously, we discovered that these people that have been recruited lately are not staff of TCN, but workers that have been posted out of the corporate headquarters that are desperate in view of their fear for reforms in the sector.”

Accordingly, the latest development has been communicated to President Jonathan who the paper learnt has also indicated his intention to take a definite decision on same in a couple of days.

Efforts to reach the General Secretary of NUEE, Mr. Joe Ajaero, to respond to the development did not yield results as at the time of filing this report; his phone could not be reached.

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