Firms inject N300b fresh fund into power sector

BPE-DG-DIKKI

THE new investors in the electricity generation and distribution companies have injected over N300 billion into the power sector in the last one and half years.

   Already, Egbin Power Plc has invested N50 billion to rehabilitate line six of its Lagos plant to generate extra 240MW.

   The Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Benjamin Ezra Dikki, who made this known when he featured on Nigeria Television Authority’s (NTA) live programme—Good Morning Nigeria on Monday, pointed out that the investment was for upgrade of power infrastructure which had become obsolete over the decades, noting that new technologies are evolving gains in the sector would not manifest overnight.

  The Director-General, said the cumulative effect of the investment is that power supply in Lagos and its environment would be greatly enhanced for the benefit of all consumers

   He explained that unlike reforms in other sectors, which brought immediate results, the situation in the power sector requires time due to its capital intensive profile.

   For instance, he said power equipment like turbines and other ancillary products “cannot be bought off the shelf. The investors have to place orders after which it will take between three to four months to manufacture the equipment before shipment. This takes time. Before Nigerians will begin to see dramatic changes in the power sector, it will take between two to three years. But already, significant impact has been made”.

   He said that because of the infrastructural development by the investors, power interruptions in the country had reduced to the barest minimum while over 2, 000 engineers and technicians have been employed since takeover. 

  Dikki noted with regret that for over 16 years as a public monopoly, Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) neither employed nor brought in new investments into the sector.

   On complaints of non-availability of electric meters to consumers, he attributed it to the complex technology used in producing smart meters, which are currently being used the world over. 

   He said the new smart meters have information on the consumer, level of power input and other statistics germane to the electricity market.

   “The level of investment in these meters is huge. Importantly, not many are manufactured locally so it will take time before consumers will begin to get them. Let them be patient”, he added.

   He regretted that gas vandalism was impacting negatively on the plans to privatize the Nigeria Independent Power projects in the country. 

  Dikki however expressed optimism that with the new initiative put in place by the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to safe-guard the pipelines through technological devices, the challenge would soon be surmounted.

   On PHCN labour issues, he said only a small fraction of the 47,913 bonafide staff of the defunct PHCN had not been paid but that the bureau in conjunction with other relevant government agencies had embarked on the last round of verification to sort things out. 

  “This is the last verification exercise. After this exercise, all staff that don’t come for verification will be declared ghost workers”, he added.



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