• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

The elusive 6000 megawatts

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There are indeed fears that the Federal Government’s plan to generate the target generate 6000 megawatts of electricity by the end of this year would not be achieved and would thus go down as this year’s number one failed promise of President Yar’adua’s government.

Reports have revealed that the drop in power generation across the country may effectively make 6000 megawatts by December 2009 a mirage.The power plants in the country are all generating power much below their installed capacities. For example, Egbin/AES power plants are generating less than 420 mw, whilst having an installed capacity of 1320 mw; Omotosho plant with an installed capacity of 355 mw only generates 33 mw; Afam 1,2, 3 and 4 with installed capacities of 969.5 mw only supplies 250 mw; Kainji, with installed capacity of 760 mw generates only 180 mw. While the poor power generation capacity of these plants could be attributed to the age of the plants and the faulty nature of the installed machines due to an inefficient maintenance culture, the insufficient supply of water, through rains, and gas are also responsible.
Aside from the negative impact the ineffective power plants would have on power generation in general and specifically on the achievement of the target 6000 MW for December 2009, industry operators believe strongly that the failure to resolve the Niger Delta crisis quickly and definitively may continue to militate against any genuine effort by government to achieve the set power generation goal. The continued militancy and military operations in the area would endanger gas supplies which are indeed fundamental.
Therefore, meeting the 6000 mw power generation by the end of the year from whichever way it is viewed, is a Herculean task considering the present power generating capacity of the existing and functional power plants in the country and the epileptic gas supplies occasioned by the turbulence of the Niger Delta. While Nigerians are eagerly awaiting the fulfillment of the Federal government’s promise on power, government should genuinely and definitively address the highlighted bottlenecks without delay.

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The present erratic electricity supply in the country is unprecedented and has brought more burdens on the entire citizenry and especially the business community. Yar’Adua’s administration would indeed go down as one that would be judged more by its ability or otherwise to contain the electricity supply crisis in the country. Conscious of this, the present leadership should do all it can to deliver on its promise on power, which is just one out of its seven promises. Governments are reckoned by their capacity to deliver on their promises to the people. Six months into the year, Nigerians are waiting for Yar’Adua to provide the 6000 mw c-in December 2009.
In addition to the slow progress on power generation, transmission and distribution in the country, the method and approach through which the government will achieve its aim have become clumsy. Since late last year, there exist uncertainty about the status of the power distribution companies and how the limitations of their roles in delivering the government’s power policy is affecting the issue at hand. Some individuals have also been alleged to be involved in corruption and the public is not sure of the level of completion or non-completion of the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP). Add to these is that it appears the government is not entirely sure how to disburse the US $5.3 billion set aside for power projects this year. in the midst of all these uncertainties, it is very unlikely that the country will attain 6,000 mega watts of electricity this year.