Electricity: Tinubu Led FG  Committed To Tackling Power Problem In Nigeria, Says VP, Shettima

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 *Flags Off South/East Light Up Nigeria Project

By; KELVIN OKPARA, Enugu  

The federal government  has assured Nigerians that the present administration under president  Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s watch is committed towards tackling the lingering power challenges bedeviling  the nation, saying the sector remains the driver of economy on any nation.

Nigeria’s Vice President and Chairman, Board of Directors of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Senator Kashim Shettima, stated this  on  Monday, during the official flag -off the Light Up Nigeria programme for South East Nigeria in Enugu, as part of federal government’s efforts to improve energy supply to industrial clusters in South East geopolitical zone of the country.

Launching of the project was done in collaboration between  (NDPHC) and its partners.

 The Vice President described the project as a transformation journey and renewer of hope for industrialists and investors in the region.

He stated  further that the Light Up Project is dear to President Bola Tinubu assuring the determination of Tinubu’s led administration to improve accelerated power supply to in­dustrial clusters in South East.

According to him, the project  is doable calling on all stakeholders to join hands together  to ensure the success of the project, stressing the  “the long awaited solution to epileptic power supply is finally here and this project will help to stabilize Nigeria because if there is no power there can be industrialization.

“The economic fortune of Nigeria remain the critical concerns of President Tinubu as we believe that if power sector works, Nigeria works too so we must make the project work and make south East works,”.

Governors of the South East states of Imo, Ebonyi, Anambra and Enugu with the exception of Abia, were in attendance and took  turns to address the ceremony, which equally featured a  business round table.

 Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State in his speech, said that the Light-Up Nigeria Project signals a new dawn for power and industrialisation of the South East region, adding that  the initiative aligns with his administration’s disruptive approach to governance underpinned by thinking outside the box.

He however, applauded the Federal Government and the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) for cominer, g up with the project to ramp up power supply to industrial clusters in the South East, enjoined industrialists of the region to fully key into it and take advantage of the initiative to remove any bottlenecks they face regarding power availability.

“The Light up Nigeria Project Today is, in my view, a new dawn for power in the South East and one of the most innovative initiatives in the power sector.

” This project is of critical importance since it deals with the power sector, which I believe is pivotal to economic growth. Indeed, if we fix power, a lot of other sectors would fall into place,” he said. 

He added that, “This project ensures efficient dispatch of power to the largest consumers via bilateral sales agreements, which overrides the existing bulk purchase arrangements through NBET, leveraging on a willing buyer, willing seller structure.

“The Programme will certainly bring improved access to affordable power to the South East. This will in turn result in reduced power costs for the productive sector and enable them improve enganced productivity and generate jobs. This is critical in this day where the country is pushing to boost production and drive-up exports to ultimately shore up our domestic currency.”

Welcoming the guests earlier, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Niger Delta Power Holding Company Ltd (NDPHC) Chiedu Ugbo, explained that the event provided an opportunity for the business community in the South-East Zone to interact with the Vice President of Nigeria.

Ugbo, stated that the event has marked the formal launch of the South-East phase of the strategic collaboration between NDPHC and other project parties to provide steady and reliable electricity supply to industrial and business clusters across Nigeria.

According to him, “We are honoured to have you all here today. This event is part of a series of initiatives led by His Excellency, the Vice President, who serves as the Chairman of Niger Delta Power Holding Company.

“These initiatives demonstrate the commitment and determination of President Tinubu’s administration, working through NDPHC, to

provide reliable and sustainable solutions to the electricity challenge in the country, starting with reliable and affordable supply to industries.

“The first event in this series took place on October 12, 2023, in Agbara, Ogun State,South-West Nigeria, where His Excellency

engaged with the business community and committed to providing the required electricity to power businesses in industrial areas across the country through NDPHC.

“Since then, significant progress has been made on the Agbara Project including identifying and signing on key industrial customers, conducting engineering surveys, negotiating transaction agreements, and procuring OEM/EPC providers for the required transmission and distribution projects.

“Additionally, NDPHC has

worked closely with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and FGN Power Company to conduct engineering surveys, identify sites, and acquire a mobile transmission substation for the project. 

“TCN has approved the connection of the new substation to the national grid, and efforts are underway to deploy this fast-track transmission substation.

“Today’s event builds on the commitment made by His Excellency at Agbara and will be replicated in other geopolitical zones across the country.

“The Light up Nigeria project, which is the focus of today’s event, is led by Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC).

“NDPHC, a government-owned company, is responsible for

implementing the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) and operates a portfolio of gas thermal electricity generation assets in Nigeria.

“However, the optimal utilization of these assets has been hindered by technical challenges and market constraints.

“One major challenge is the lack of sufficient transmission and distribution infrastructure to transport power from the plants. To underscore this point, just last Friday, we received the Honourable

Minister of Power at our 500MW Benin (Ihovbor) Power Plant. 

“This power plant shares the transmission facilities with Azura-Edo Power plant next door with over 460 MW. The two plants together can generate over 9,00MW. 

The NDPHC boss, said “the Honourable Minister witnessed first-hand the level of under utilisation of the NDPHC generation plant as a result of the transmission constraint.

“However, Transmission

Company of Nigeria is now working assiduously towards resolving that constraint in that power plant.

“Another challenge stems from financial difficulties in the electric power sector here in Nigeria, leading to inadequate payments by distribution companies and Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading company (NBET) to generation companies like NDPHC.

” The huge jndebtedness to the generation companies affects the ability of the generation companies to pay for gas supply leading to gas supply shortage and the resulting low generation. 

“On 31st January 2024,

the Honourable Minister of Power visited our Olorunsogo Power Plant (near Papalanto in Ogun State and Omotosho Power Plant nnear Ore in Ondo State) and saw first-hand the extent of gas supply constraint to the two power plants which put together have over 1,000MW installed capacity.

” At a recent press conference, the Honourable Minister of Power, rightly identified this severe liquidity crisis as a major impediment to electricity supply in the country with over N1.3 trillion owed to generation companies. NDPHC alone is owed close to N200bn out of that.

“These challenges of lack of sufficient transmission and distribution jnfrastructure to transport electricity from the plants and the sector market liquidity crisis have resulted in gross underutilisation of installed generation assets with unserved potential grid electricity consumers, particularly industries (some of which are represented here today), resorting to expensive and often inefficient self generation.

“In response to these challenges, NDPHC initiated the Light up Nigeria Project, which aims to provide reliable and affordable electricity supply to industries and homes by utilizing underutilized generation capacity, establishing trading agreements with bulk

purchasers of electricity, and mobilizing investments to address technical, commercial, and collection losses in the supply chain.

“Additionally, NDPHC aims to receive full payment for the electricity generated and delivered, without relying on the Federal Government for such payments.

“The project aligns with the Electricity Act of 2023 (graciously signed into law by His Excellency Present Bola Tinubu GCFR), which provides a strong framework for state governments to develop

electricity markets at the sub-national level, with the aim of

delivering consistent and affordable electricity to residents. 

“Through the Light up Nigeria project, state governments will derive the benefit of increased access to electricity, attraction of investment opportunities, revenue generation and economic growth. 

“At the Federal level, the project will help to reduce the financial burden on FGN’s balance sheet from debt exposure of NBET.

“The project is further reinforced by NERC’s MYTO 2024 which mandates distribution companies to secure adequate bilateral

contracts and exit from contractual relationships with NBET. 

“NDPHC remains at the forefront in pursuing bilateral electric power sales and other projects that ensure efficient and targeted electricity delivery to end-users.

He assured South-East Governors and business  community that the Light up Nigeria Project would 

have the dedicated and diligent attention of the team of NDPHC and its project parties devising creative and bankable solutions to addressing power supply challenges to industries in the Zone.

“We are grateful for the support and leadership of His Excellency, the Vice President, in these roadshow events. We also extend our appreciation to Your Excellencies, the State Governors, especially

those in the South-East, for your support to NDPHC projects in your

respective states. Special thanks go to the Governor of Enugu State for hosting this event.

“We would also like to express our gratitude to EEDC, EnerixOne, Electric Utilities Limi

We are excited about the collaboration and opportunities that lie ahead. 

“Together, we can make a significant impact on the electric power sector and contribute to the growth and development of our nation.

Top dignitaries physically present at the event included,   Imo State and Chairman, South-East Governors’ Forum, Senator Hope Uzodinma, the Host Governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, that of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and that of Ebonyi State, Hon. Francis Nwifuru, Minister of power, Adebayo Adelabu, former Imo state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, amongst others.

Others are, former senate President  Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, Emeka Offor, the Chairman, Board of Directors, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, (EEDC) among other dignitaries.

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