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FG unveils measures to boost power supply amid intermittent blackouts

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AMID intermittent blackouts, the Federal Government has unveiled measures to boost power supply in the country.

Minister of power Abubakar Aliyu, who announced the measures at the end of an emergency meeting in Abuja, said they would address recent challenges in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

Last Monday and Tuesday, the national grid collapsed after losing about 1,100mw generation capacity, throwing the entire nation into darkness.

The systems collapse followed several weeks of epileptic supply of electricity as a result of low power generation by the power generation companies.

Power minister Aliyu blamed the loss of generation capacity on simultaneous disruptions in gas supply to the Okpai NIPP in Calabar and the Afam VI power plants in Delta State.

The low available generation capacity for wheeling by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to consumers, the minister said, was exacerbated by the ongoing water management regime at the Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro power plants.

Speaking on measures initiated to restore normalcy in the electricity supply system, Aliyu said the gas pipeline that was affected by several acts of vandalism has been restored.

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Also, he said the Okpai power plant has since resumed power generation and is currently contributing an average of 300mw.

Also, he said the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc has been directed to enter into fast-track negotiations with the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) on an interim energy sales agreement.

The minister said the agreement was conceived with a view to bringing the new Okpai Il power plant on the national grid to contribute additional 400mw of generation capacity for distribution to consumers.

The completion of the gas pipeline supplying gas to the Odukpani power plant, he said, was scheduled for completion on March 21, 2022, and is expected to ramp up the overall generation capacity by about 400mw.

In order to optimise the capacity utilisation of the power plants owned by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Ltd (NDPHC), the minister said the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved a special gas pricing regime for emergency contracting of gas from the Nigerian Gas Marketing Company Ltd.

“We expect an on-grid improvement of about 800mw generation capacity from the NDPHC plants,” he added.

In the medium-term, he said the government has agreed with Nigerian Gas and Investment Company (NGPIC) (a subsidiary of NNPC) on the framework for the overhaul of the Okoloma gas processing plant, thereby restoring the full capacity of the 650mw Afam VI combined cycle power plant.

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Aliyu expressed regrets over the recent spate of system collapse, saying it was a direct consequence of a snap on a 330kV transmission line.

“The mitigation measures for avoiding such incidence of blackouts are being implemented through several interventions, including the Presidential Power Initiative.

“We wish to reassure all electricity consumers that all relevant agencies involved in the restoration of normalcy in power supply have been charged to act in the context of the emergency state of the industry.

“The Federal Ministry of Power shall continue to periodically update the nation on the progress,” the minister said

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Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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