By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
The much expected improvement in electricity supply from the national grid for citizens may be far from reality as the fourth hydro power generating dam, the Zungeru Power Station cannot come on stream till 2019.
Findings by our correspondent confirmed that electricity generation from the Zungeru hydro dam cannot commence until latest by 2019.
Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola hinted at the inauguration of the first unit of the 700-Megawatt (MW) Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant that the facility can only commence functional energy generation for electricity by 2019.
This revelation may have no doubt dampened the spirit and expectations of no few a citizens who have been agitated over decreasing and epileptic power supply from the national grid for years now.
The Minister told guests during a short ceremony marking the ‘River Closure’ on the plant’s main riverbed at the project site in Zungeru that the last unit of the project would become operational in the first quarter of 2020 following the completion of the entire project.
Represented by the Director, Energy Resources of the Ministry and Project, Engineer Olatunji Ajayi, the Minister explained that with the completion of the river closure, work on the project has so far attained only 40 percent.
He said the ‘Gate locking and reservoir impounding’ would ignite commencement of generation activities at the site. He added that the federal government has also adopted a pragmatic approach to permanently resettle communities around the Zungeru dam site.
He assured that adequate funds have been made available for the compensation of the affected families even as work on the project is ongoing simultaneously at the different segments of the project site.
The Vice President, Power China International Group Limited, Mr. Tian Haihua said the main river bed closure would galvanize activities that would lead to the eventual completion of the hydro dam project in good time.
The Zungeru hydroelectric dam when completed, is capable of generating 10, 000 direct jobs. Mr. Haihua assured that engineers working on the project would ensure speedy completion of the work even as he emphasized that no time would be wasted as contractors would work in-line with the contract specifications and duration.
Commissioner for Works and Housing in Niger state Alhaji Abdulmalik Cheche who stood in for Governor Abubakar Sani Bello at the occasion, assured the contractors of state government’s support in actualizing the Zungeru hydroelectric dam project to improve electricity supply to the country and the state in particular.