Nigeria: ‘Distribution, Security, Others are Power Sector’s Challenges’

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Power Sector

The nation’s recurring  power supply challenge is  largely attributed to defects in the distribution chain, security and community issues, among others, the Managing Director, Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC), Chiedu Ugbo, has said.

Ugbo told The Nation that despite the targeted increase in generation, if there is no efficient distribution to the end users, the challenge will not abate.

He acknowledged that there has been huge improvement in gas supply to the thermal power plants, resulting in adequate power  generation despite some challenges.

He said the most nagging point is  power distribution. “Power distribution companies should be able to take more than what the transmission gives out. This is to allow reduction of redundancies at the various levels and reduce losses while transmitting power from one location to another.

“The farther you travel with power, the more the quality and efficiency of the power is reduced. Another problem with the distribution network has been poor town and urban planning which has made it difficult to regulate power distribution and downstream activities, thus overloading the grid.

“Some challenges that the NIPP has had to grapple with include security and community issues; right-of-way challenges for distribution equipment and transmission lines; port clearing coordination hitches and contractor performance-related problems. Even though the three tiers of government own the NIPP, equipment imported for the power projects are often delayed or seized at the ports by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) because of non-payment of import tariffs, thereby stalling the execution of some power projects. Sadly, some of the equipment at the ports were auctioned by the port authorities after demurrage charges had accrued on them. It took the intervention of an alarmed Senate to recover some of the equipment sold off under questionable circumstances.”

Ugbo said to fast-track the attainment of stable electricity for Nigerians, the Federal Government should seriously consider waving duties on equipment for power projects. It needs to seriously educate contractors on their patriotic duty to deliver, and on time. There is need for a special para-military unit to ruthlessly tackle the activities of vandals, and address the kidnap of the employees of the contractors.

“Host communities also need to be educated on the recurring problem of right-of-way for the routes for the 330kv and 132kv transmission lines of the NIPP. Once when NDPHC diverted the transmission line to the Ihovonbor station in Edo State at a considerable cost because of the presence of a shrine, a new shrine emerged overnight on the new route and the villagers went on demanding a huge amount to relocate it. These things can be best handled with proper enlightenment of the responsibilities of civic duties.

‘’Also, operatives of para-military agencies, especially men of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), should be adequately motivated and mobilised to protect power installations from vandals across the country. An asset protection mechanism for the safety of power generation/distribution equipment like pipelines and plants must be established with technologically advanced means applied.

“All three-tier arms of the government, parastatals, the ministries of defence, trade and of oil and gas, the privately-owned generating and distribution companies and indeed all Nigerians must join hands in true patriotism in confronting this multi-faceted problem and  wipe out this embarrassing situation of inadequate electricity supply.

‘’Many Nigerians have made a living for decades from national dysfunction. Many have engaged and still do in pipeline bunkering. They have in the past fought against national pipelines protection. Those that make livings importing electric generators will never want to see the country enjoying uninterrupted power supply. And because these folks have made a lot of money from their activities and are powerful, more like armed militants, they need be handled delicately to minimise collateral damage.”

Authored By: Emeka Ugwuanyi

SOURCE: THE NATION

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