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Business - January 26, 2017

Electricity: Fashola attributes drop to cash crunch

Babatunde Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has attributed the drop in power generation in the country to the cash crunch in the power sector, among other factors.

Fashola made the assertion on Wednesday in Abuja at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

Fashola explained that because suppliers were not fully paid, there had been a back and forth situation between the Discos and Gencos

He said apart from the sabotage in the western axis of the Niger Delta, the Escravos Lagos pipeline and the Forcados export terminal had been out of operation.

The minister said: “If you can’t produce oil, you cannot take the gas. The gas is the fuel that the power plants need.

“You have seen what we have been doing in increasing the capacity in firing transmission but if we don’t have fuel to fire the plants, that is the reason.

“What then happens on the grid is that once it goes below 3,000 MW, it becomes unstable. It is like in your house when you have surges and your circuit breakers trip to protect the system.

“So once it falls below a certain threshold, you have those trip offs. There are in a sense almost necessary to protect the entire system, so what then happens is the startups; we do black starts from various power plants,” he explained.

Fashola said efforts to start the process were sabotaged last week by a fire outbreak in Afam which he said affected the control room.

He noted that another fire outbreak at  Kainji Dam did not also help matters, giving assurance that efforts were ongoing to repair the plants.

“As at yesterday (Tuesday), we were back to 2,900MW. So we are building up back again, and very soon, you will experience some stability. These are setbacks on the road to incremental power but we will overcome them,” he assured Nigerians.

Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, had said gas suppliers were being owed money by generation and distribution companies (Gencos and Discos).

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