The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, on Wednesday attributed the collapse in the power sector currently being witnessed in the country to liquidity problem and vandalism among others.
Fashola spoke at a press briefing at the end of a meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
He was accompanied by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Fashola identified one of the problems as liquidity problem, saying gas suppliers have not been fully paid therefore causing back and forth between Distribution Companies and Generation Companies.
He said apart from the sabotage in the Western axis of the Niger Delta, the Escravos Lagos pipeline and the Forcados export terminal have been out of operation.
He said, “If you can’t produce oil, you cannot 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.
“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 almost necessary to protect the entire system, so what then happens is startups, we do black starts from various power plants”
The minister said while efforts were ongoing to start the process last week, a fire outbreak in Afam affected the control room while another fire broke out in Kainji.
He said efforts were ongoing to repair the plants.
“As at yesterday (Tuesday), we were back to 2,900MW. So, we are building up back again and very soon you will see some stability. These are setbacks on the road to incremental power but we will overcome them,” he assured Nigerians.
Fashola said the council approved the completion of Odogunyan transmission substation in Ikorodu, Lagos and to provide additional transformer capacity at the substation with 260 MVA transformers and transmission lines of 132KVA.
This, he said, would complete the works in that area generally known within the power industry as Ayobo West.
He said the initial contract awarded in 2009 was about N3.225bn while a revision of N274.3m to complete it was approved.
This, he said, increase the sum from about N3.2m to N3.5m.
The minister said, “The contract had been awarded before now but not completed because it was not paid for.
“It was awarded in 2009 and should have been completed in 18 months which would have been sometimes in May 2011 but because of lack of funding, nothing happened.
“That is the approval we got today and of course the cost has been revised as a result of the economic realities so that this can be completed and put to use and this would add to the expansion capacity to the grid, just as what we have done in Kaduna and previous approvals.”