Remarks By Babatunde Raji Fashola, San At The 21st Monthly Power Sector Operators Meeting Held In Asaba, Delta State On Monday The 13th Of November 2017
Dear members of the Nigerian Electricity Sector Industry:
I welcome you once again to our monthly power meeting, the 21st monthly meeting we have held without fail.
This meeting is being hosted by Benin Electricity Distribution Company in Asaba, the capital of Delta State which falls within the franchise of Benin DISco.
As it has now become customary, I am happy to announce again some progress that we have made in the last one month in our journey of incremental, steady and uninterrupted power.
Within the last month:
- Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) expanded transmission capacity in Zaria, Kaduna State and Funtua, Katsina State by adding 40 and 60MVA transformers to the Transmission sub-station to increase the TCN capacity to transmit power in those areas;
- The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) completed consultation and issued the Regulations needed to guide the operations and implementation of the eligible customer declaration that I made, to increase our capacity to distribute power;
- Rural Electrification Agency (REA) completed the guidelines for the operation of the rural electrification fund that will help vulnerable groups and communities gain access to funding to support their electricity development program;
- The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, on Friday the 10th November 2017, signed the EPC contract for the Mambilla Hydro power project, over 40 years after the project was first conceived.
By way of explanation the Rural Electrification Fund was created by Section 88 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) of 2005 to promote support and provide rural electrification access.
The fund will provide a partial single payment capital subsidy and or technical assistance to eligible private Rural Power Developers, NGOs or communities to invest in options such as hybrid mini grids or solar home systems to scale up rural access to electricity.
Those who will be served are the unserved and underserved Rural Communities.
What they are likely to get are minimum amounts of $10,000 (N3.5m) and Maximum amounts of $300,000. (N106m) or 75% of project cost which ever is less.
The REA will publish details of guidelines and eligibility.
These are only headline items of developments that characterize the progress we are making month after month, especially since March 2017.
They do not represent, or pretend to fully report,all of the progress that is going on at distribution levels, which is highlighted by the New Asaba Mains 2x15MVA injection substation completed and commissioned today by Benin DisCo.
This is expected to improve service to Okwe, Akuebulu, Jarret, Ogbeofu, Osadebe Way, Okwe Housing Estate, Oduke, New Jerusalem, Malbovil and more by reducing load shedding and increasing the hours of supply.
Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week and month by month we have not only gained momentum, we are seeing progress that inspires us not to flag, progress that inspires us to continue, because the power problem can be successfully managed by Nigerians.
Not even your worst critic can deny that his experience has improved; even if he is reluctant to acknowledge it, which is his prerogative.
Our work is certainly not driven by a quest for acknowledgment; on the contrary it is driven by our belief in our collective abilities to change what we do not accept.
We remind ourselves that we are not immune from what we do. If we make it work as we intend to, it will also serve us.
We thank well-meaning Nigerians who are gracious to acknowledge that their experience has improved and who ask us to do more. Your honesty inspires us to continue.
Dear members, we all know that the progress this year was due to many things we have done andthe peace in the Gas producing regions which enabled us to getthe gas stations and the Hydro stations to work together.
Now that the rains are coming to an end we expect some minor, not major, reduction in the production from the Hydro, and we must work now to keep all the gas stations well maintained and operational.
I am sure that we can do this, if there is peace in the gas producing areas and gas supply is not interrupted.
There are other challenges that we must also overcome together:
A. Estimated billing and metering, and in this regard we anxiously await the Regulation from NERC to open up meter supply Business.
B. Similarly I am happy to report that following the approval of the Federal executive Council (FEC) earlier in the year, the dispute over meters supply contract that started since 2003, was resolved by a Court approved settlement on Thursday the 9th day of November 2017.
C. This means that there will be N37 billion available for meter supply by the contractor to DisCos who want to partner and can reach their independent agreement with the contractor. While we await the regulations by NERC, a lot of preparatory work can be done.
D. To the communities in Ondo State around Okitipupa, Onitsha, Nnewi, Ihiala in Anambra State, Mowe in Ogun State, and others across the country, we have not forgotten you.
E. The problems of right of way for 11Kv and 33Kv distribution lines within the states is one that we must overcome together. I have signed letters last week to all 36 state governors and the FCT minister, with copies to each DisCo asking them to support you in protecting and recovering the right of way for your distribution lines so that you can serve their states and residents better.
I will conclude my remarks by referring to the local communities under the Benin DisCo and address the issues that affect you while you host us:
- Asaba - Benin 330KV line was energized to service on 3rd November 2017. Asaba 330kv substation is now being fed from both Benin and Onitsha. The line also raised the number of circuits from Onitsha to Benin to 3 (THREE).
- Presently a 40mva 132/33kv mobile transformer is undergoing installation at Auchi with in-house capacity to be commissioned in 2 (TWO) weeks time.
- A new 330/ 132kv substation is to be constructed at Okpai with a 132kv line from the station to service a proposed 132/33kv substation at Kwale. The procurement of the projects are ongoing.
- Installation of a new 60mva 132/33kv transformer is to commence at Irrua transmission station any time from now.
On a final note, I am happy to announce that we have recovered $64,630,055:00 from our international customers in Benin Republic and Republic of Niger. The Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader, (NBET) will work out the modalities for distribution.
Thank you for your attention.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing
Monday 13th November 2017