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BY Oscarline Onwuemenyi
The Federal Government's plan to attain over 7,000 Mega watts, MW, of electricity before the end of the year now appear feasible with the planned injection of over 3,540 MW of electricity into the national grid through the National Integrated Power Projects, NIPP.

The total power generation for the 10 power projects in the next two years is expected to reach about 10,000 MW in 2014.

The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, NDPHC, Mr. James Olotu, who said this last week during a briefing with journalists in Abuja, also denounced reports which alleged that former President Olusegun Obasanjo expended $16billion on the NIPP were utterly unfounded.

He said, 'The total sum committed to the projects prior to the National Assembly probe for the projects was only $3.078billion out of which only about $2.87billionn was paid, and not $16billion as had been reported over the years.

Presently, he added, the Federal government plans to invest over $5.75billion in the NIPP. 'The cost of the entire project is $5.75billion. The amount yet to be received as part contribution is $235million. However, what was spent so far is just half of the total money put at $5.75billion,' he said.

Olotu maintained that insufficient gas supply to the power plants posed a big challenge, and is responsible for the late take-off of many of the units thereby affecting capacity operation by the plants.

He noted that, 'As we speak, many of the power plants are running below installed capacity due to the challenge of acquiring gas to power them. For example, the Olorunsogo Power Plant has only four out of the installed six units and only about one and a half of them are functioning due to gas constraints.

'Also, in the Sapele Power plant, we have completed two units out of the four, and we have about 225MW that can enter the grid anytime. The moment gas constraint is removed; the whole units can be operated.'

He, however, said that the NDPHC with the support of the Ministry of Power and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, were working hard to resolve the challenges faced by gas suppliers, adding that Nigerians should expect improved power in the coming weeks and months.

According to him, 'In the next few weeks, precisely at the end of March, we expect to inject about 553MW of electricity into the national grid. By December 2013, we will be ready to pump in about 3,540MW into the national grid.'

Olotu explained that most of the money committed to the projects are in form of letters of credit and not cash to the contractors as a contractor can only draw such money based on milestone achievement that was satisfied by the project consultant and NDPHC.

He added that, 'The investigations that came about at the end of the Obasanjo government had dampened operations within the industry, as it affected proposed arrangements for gas supply to these plants, and forced most of the stakeholders to operate on their own with little or no cooperation in achieving individual goals.'

According to him, 'NIPP remains the only hope for the country for sustainable growth in power generation and transmission. Power generation is a very complex process, and we have some of the best project managers and engineers who can deliver on government's plan to have reliable power to every nook and cranny of the country.'