By Ahamefula Ogbu
As part of the measures to ensure steady power supply across the country, the Federal Government Thursday threatened to revoke transmission and distribution contract of any company that failed to execute at least 50 per cent of the job awarded to them by June 2012.
It also explained that the current drop on power across the country was due to some problems, chief of which was gas supply to plants which are ready for generation or had been generating and had to be shut down for lack of gas.
Other problems include the maintenance of facilities by Chevron, shutting down of Oben Station, gas supply line from Escravos and the yet-to-be-completed work in Gbaramatu as well as other problems with some of the plants.
Briefing State House correspondents after a meeting of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, who is Chairman of NDPHC at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Minister for Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, and Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, said President Goodluck Jonathan had set up a task force to resolve the gas supply crisis which is expected to be resolved by the end of this month.
A statement by the Senior Adviser to Sambo on Media and Publicity, Alhaji Umar Sani, said Sambo directed that a list of non-performing contractors should be compiled by the end of the year while new contracts would no longer be approved.
He summoned a meeting of governors of the South-south zone and those of Imo and Abia States to a stakeholders’ meeting where issues of pipelines’ right of way, vandalism and security would be addressed.
“Before giving approval to some of the requests by the management of NDPHC, Vice-President Sambo warned that the board would no longer approve any new projects and they must concentrate on the urgent delivery of existing contracts.
“The board gave approval for the payment of P. B Power/Jiyoda invoices transferred by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria to NDPHC in respect of project consultancy services for the construction of Alaoji Phase 1 power plant. It also approved the interim operations and maintenance services for the 451mw Sapele power station in favour of Messrs Marubeni Corporation and Olorunsogo power station,” he said.
Uduaghan said progress was being made with Olorunsogo which six units were down and were now revived and Sapele having some of their units completed waiting for gas supply to fire them.
“The Olorunsogo completed units can generate 450mw, Sapele two units completed can generate 250mw. Unfortunately, we have challenges with gas supply affecting these two plants just as it is also affecting other plants across the country. So we looked at the issue of gas supply, fortunately the Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other top officials were here. There is a strategic committee that has been put up by Mr. President to look into the issues of gas supply and fast track processes that will ensure we have more gas for utilisation by our various plants, both the ones under NIPP and PHCN. From the strategies they presented, hopefully there will be improvement in the supply of gas to these various plants.
“Another challenge we are still having is the transmission lines. At this meeting, the chairman which is the vice-president directed that all the contractors must have performed at least 50 per cent of their jobs by the end of June this year. Any transmission and distribution contractor that has not done so by June this year will have its contract given to a performing contractor so there will be a review at the end of June of all the transmission and distribution contracts and the ones that are not performing will obviously be dropped and given performing contractors. Hopefully, there will be improvement in the next few months and definitely by the end of the year, we would have improvement,” Uduaghan said.
Nnaji said that Jonathan had ordered for a retreat by all stakeholders in the power sector for March 20, 2012 to x-ray and bring out final solution to the gas supply and other allied problems militating against the steady power supply as the government would want to see improved and progressively steady supply in the country.
Nnaji said he had solved the problem of Olorunsogo power plant built by the Chinese not having an English manual that would enable Nigerian engineers to work on them.
He said the problem was solved just two weeks after changing the management of the plant and added that though few years after handing over the complex, six of its units broke down, that six of them were back on stream and only plagued by lack of gas to fire them.
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