Assailed by grieving Nigerians, Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has offered six excuses for the lingering power outage experienced by homes and industries. He reeled out the excuses when confronted by media men soon after the Federal Executive Council meeting of Wednesday.
1, No money!
“We heard there was liquidity problems, gas suppliers haven’t been fully paid, you have back and forth between DisCos and GenCos so those are the issues.
2, No gas!
“Apart from the sabotage that we have had from the Western axis of the Niger Delta, the Escravos Lagos pipeline is not operational, the Forcados export terminal too has been out of operation.
“So, if you can’t produce oil, you can’t take the gas. The gas is the fuel that the power plants need. You have seen what we have been doing in increasing the capacity in firing transmission but if we don’t have fuel to fire the plants, that is the reason.”
3, No supply!
“What then happens on the grid is that once it goes below 3,000 MW, it becomes unstable. It is like in your house when you have surges and your circuit breakers trip to protect the system. So once it falls below a certain threshold you then have those trip offs. There are, in a sense utmost necessity to protect the entire system, so what then happens is startups, we do black starts from various power plants.”
4, Afam and Kainji on fire!
“While we were trying to start last week we had a fire in Afam and that affected the control room and these are normal engineering accidents that can happen, the mechanical parts can break down, we also had another fire in Kainji. We have tried to repair them over the last weekend while negotiations with the gas companies are ongoing.”
5, Vandals everywhere!
“I have been meeting with the gas suppliers, trying to see how we can pay off some of these debts whilst fix other problems. As I continue to say, it is not technical but financial, vandalism of pipelines is not technical, people are destroying, they are hungry.”
6, Consumers won’t pay!
“Until we resolve these behavorial issues, people collect money, are they remitting everything in a manner that is fair, even if it is not enough, some people hold up their own share and they ask themselves why should we continue to supply if we cant get paid because there are bankers and financiers?”
Which way out?
Fashola says, “So we are talking with everybody, trying to resolve it. As at yesterday we were back to 2900, so we are building up back again and very soon you will see some stability. These are set backs on the road to incremental power but we will overcome them.”
No miracle soon. Get ready to pay more!
What Fashola did not add was that Nigerians should get ready to pay more for electricity.
This much was revealed by the Acting Chairman/Chief Executive of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Tony Akah, on Wednesday while addressing members of the Senate Committee on Privatisation.
Dr. Akah, said there was no miracle that the commission could do, saying, “So, the challenge we have as regulator here is that we don’t know which other miracle to do, because in the absence of subsidy coming in, in the absence of other mechanism coming in, we are bound under the law to provide a tariff that will recover the cost of investments.”
“And in the absence of that, there is no incentive for the players in the market to come up and give you power, “he added.
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