By Abdullahi Mohammed, Abuja
The federal government said the poor power supply currently being experienced in Abuja and some parts of the country was as a result of low water level in the hydro dams.
Minister of Power Mr Abubakar D. Aliyu said this onThursday during
the weekly briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team, held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.“With the reduction in hydro water in the dams during the dry season, the need for additional load to be taken up by our gas plants and the challenges we are having in the repairs currently being carried on some of the generators are all responsible for the load shedding and power outages we are experiencing,” he said.
The minister, who spoke on various initiatives including Presidential Power Initiatives (PPI) being driven by Siemens, said government is doing everything to ensure optimum supply of gas to ensure quick restoration of power.On the national metering programme, the minister said the current metering gaps are being reduced across the country with the roll out of one million meters for the first phase of the initiative while awaiting four million others under the second phase.
“Currently, close to one million meters have been rolled out under the first phase and accelerated procurement is on-going for the second phase of four million meters with critical focus on local manufacturers. This is aimed at providing jobs through the programme.“The first phase generated 10, 000 jobs in installation and assembly. We anticipate that the second phase contract will be awarded by the end of the second quarter of this year. There will be a third phase that will provide additional two million meters, funded through the World Bank,” he said.
He said government intends to provide meters for all households and eliminate the metering gap being experienced and to jettison the estimated billing system.He cautioned Distribution Companies (DISCOs) involved in selling meters to desist from such acts as meter procurement is free.He said government is expediting action on the proposed installation of 10 power transformers with additional ten mobile substations for massive improvement of electricity supply nationwide.The minister said the issue of right of way was stalling power projects despite the fact that findings are already on ground.
“We are engaging with the state governors through the Nigerian Governors Forum to drive a holistic solution to these lingering issues. Some examples of critical projects held up by right of way are the Benin to Oshgbo which I’ve mentioned 330 KV line which is 250 kilometers, Ikot Ekepene to Ikot Abasi also 330 KV line 68 kilometer and the Kano-Katsina 330 KV line 180 Kilometer,” he said.He said the attention the power sector is receiving from President Muhammadu Buhari is unprecedented.“Since the inception of the present government under President Buhari in 2015, it has turned its attention to our infrastructure and the attention this government is giving in my own view, is unprecedented. If we narrow that to the Power sector, it is also receiving such attention.“The enormity of the decay in the sector is what we are batting with to ensure we overcome challenges associated with electricity delivery in the country,” he said.