How NDPHC intervention projects contributed 3400MW to national grid in six years

The Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), a strategic interventionist agency in the power sector, has  contributed over 3,400 megawatts (MW) to the national grid in the past six years, The ICIR findings have shown.

The agency has also expanded its intervention in the power sector with the  delivery of  22 substations since 2015.

Through six National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP), thermal power plants and scores of power substations, the company has contributed 45 per cent to the power grid, which currently generates 7,600MW of energy.

The NIPP programme is currently in its second phase and incorporates transmission and distribution projects as well as renewable energy.

According to the Managing Director of NDPHC Chiedu Ugbo, the company has also increased its distribution capabilities with the installation of 25,900 Completely Self-Protected (CSP) transformers across the country.

Ugbo said that the company had done over 1,000 intervention projects nationwide that included fixing vandalised or damaged power infrastructure and increasing the coverage area of power facilities.

Despite the strides, the company has expressed concern that although there is progress in project delivery, there are challenges affecting some of these projects in the electricity market.

The major challenges are: theft of equipment and infrastructure, vandalism, lack of cooperation from power distribution companies (DisCos).

The others include: community issues regarding land and Right of Way (ROIs), vehicular accidents that have damaged some power infrastructure and the rising insecurity across facility areas, Ugbo said.

Commenting on the NDPHC report, a power sector advocate and President of Nigeria Consumer Protection Network (NCPN) Kunle Kola Olubiyo said, “In spite of all the tremendous milestone  achievements by NIPP/NDPHC, there are major areas of impediments on the full realisation of the lofty ideals of NIPP as championed by the management of NDPHC.”

Olubiyo said another big challenge was the delay in taking over projects by the DisCos  who would want to evade the burden of capital expenditure (CAPEX).

He also said that the delay in ‘Eligible Customers’ implementation should be cleared so that more heavy power users could benefit from the new NIPP assets.

Another challenge for the NDPHC was funding which, according to Olubiyo, should be raised by the equity stakeholders (federal, state and local governments) for more power sector projects.

He also offered other quick-win solutions. “As a part of the low-hanging fruits and quick fixed solutions, there should be an upward review of NIPP GenCos’ tariff to bring it at par with other thermal plants in the country. At the moment, NIPP tariff is currently N20 per Kilowatts Hour (KWH) while other non-NIPP/NDPHC thermal GenCos’ tariff is N27KWH.”

He also called on the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to fast-track the valuation of NIPPs investment in transmission, distribution and gas infrastructure. That will enable NIPP/ NDPHC to recover over $3.5 billion in investments in the power sector, he said.

“The recovered sum will be reinvested in the power sector and that will again improve or close the infrastructural gap,” he noted.

Olubiyo, who was a member of the National Technical Investigative Panel on Power Systems Collapses, Grid Stability And Reliability in June 2013, and a member of Presidential Adhoc Committee on Review of Electricity Tariff in Nigeria in August 2020, also said: “While NERC is working on the valuations, some amounts could be set aside from TCN as payments on account of the revenue derivable by TCN from investments by NDPHC/NIPP. This modality for cost recovery by NDPHC in the interim should be worked out as on-account payment or deposit on account pending conclusion of the valuation.”

Meanwhile, a  further dig into the project revealed that in the first phase, NDPHC, which is owned by the three tiers of government, kick-started  with the construction of 10 gas-fired power plants which were called, ‘The Big Ten,’ especially in the Niger Delta.

These projects, findings have shown, are key to fast-tracking the development of the Nigerian power sector and meeting the NDPHC’s mandate of lighting the nation. From 2015 to 2021, several projects have been completed or ongoing.

Six NIPP power plants will now generate 3,400MW electricity for the national grid while the four other plants are still under construction even as some of their turbines operate partially, findings show.

NDPHC also said from 2015 to 2019, it completed 2,194 kilometres of 330 kilovolt (kV) and 887km 132kV transmission lines respectively. Also, the country now has 10 new 330/132kV substations and eight 132/33kV  substations connected to the national grid. These have added 5590MVA/330kV and 3493MVA/132kV capacity levels, respectively.

From June 2019 to January 2021, NDPHC’s Transmission Department completed four new substations, boosting the national grid’s capacity further by 180MVA (Awka and Nkalagu substations). While the Ihiala and Orlu GIS substations have been completed with a total of  120MVA capacity, the NDPHC has to wait for other associated projects to be completed before the substations can be connected to the national grid. In terms of transmission, the NDPHC has made progress, with all projects at an average of 80 per cent completion.

Analysis of the report shows that the benefits of these projects are enormous as they have up-scaled the nation’s reduction of Aggregate of Technical, Collection and Commercial Losses (ATC& C losses).

NIPP has completed over 360 injection substations with a combined capacity of about 3,540MW. It has also built about 2,600km of 11kV power distribution lines and 4,600km of 33kV distribution lines which directly supply electricity to transformers in residential areas.






     

     

    However, in 2018, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) grilled officials of the NDPHC over allegations of fraud.

    The Cable linked the ICPC onslaught to questionable award of contracts at the government agency.

    Earlier in 2021, youths from Gbarain kingdom in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State had threatened a showdown with the  NDPHC after it failed to restore electricity power to the area since late last year when public power was cut off by the company.

    Energy lawyer and power sector governance expert Chuks Nwani told The ICIR that despite recorded feats by the NDPHC, it needed to have a commercial strategy for possible evacuation of stranded power in its power plants across the country.

    “The NDPHC must find a commercial module to evacuate most of its stranded powers, amid concerns about peculiar problems in the power sector. They are interested in evacuating their power,but not interested in a commercial module that could enable that,” he further said.
    He noted that everybody must be ready to do the hard work by moving power where they were needed.
    “There is a need for the regulator -NERC- and Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) to consider a higher voltage that would enable a regulatory exercise that would enhance off-take of the power.
    “This is the kind of lobby the NDPHC should be doing to NERC and NEMSA to enable, legally, a higher distribution code that would facilitate movement of  power to areas that the TCN  has constraints.”
    “In Benin Republic, it is already being done efficiently and I don’t see why we cannot have enabling laws to drive that strategy,” Nwani further said.

    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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