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Experts urge state govts. to establish power plants

20 June 2015, 08:18

Hadejia - Nigerians, including experts and other stakeholders in electricity generation and distribution in the country, have called on all state governments to establish power plants, to reduce their dependence on the National Grid.

They made the call during a survey conducted on the state of electricity generation, distribution and consumption in Nigeria.

A cross section of the stakeholders, including Mr Onyekachi Nkemneme, Senior Corporate Communication Manager of the Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC), said the main panacea to energy crisis in Nigeria was the establishment of state power plants.

Nkemneme said such move would reduce the overbearing concentration on the grid and ensure efficient electricity distribution nationwide.

He noted that the distance between Kainji Dam and North East in particular, was a militating factor in the efficient distribution of power in the region.

According to him, transmission from the dam passes through Gombe before reaching Yola, and if there is any obstruction, it will definitely affect supply in Yola.

He stressed the need for governors in the zone to explore their electricity potentials to address the problem of insufficient power supply in their geopolitical zone.

The manager said that the Mambilla Plateau, in Taraba alone, had the potential of generating over 45,000 megawatts, which would be sufficient for the entire zone.

Nkemneme said the Kiri Dam in Adamawa also had the potentials of generating up to 16,000 megawatts for national usage, and wondered why such areas would not be developed to address the situation nationwide.

He also pointed that the Dadinkowa Dam in Gombe was another source for generating a lot of power for Nigeria.

He said the YEDC, which supplied electricity to four states, was not into transmission and generation, but distribution only.

According to him, the states in the zone are Taraba, Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

He said the company was depending on the electricity generating and transmitting companies, for distribution to consumers.

The manager said the cheapest source of power generation globally, was the hydro-electrical power.

He said that though the country had high potentials in solar energy, its generation was, however, expensive to maintain.

Nkemneme said that total amount of megawatts being transmitted for distribution to states under YEDC was below 10, but core investors in the power generation sector were working round the clock to address the challenge.

However, electricity consumers continued to decry the unstable power supply in the country.

They expressed the belief that the privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria had only worsened an already deplorable situation.

Malam Kabiru Badamsi , a resident of Hadejia in Jigawa, said the persistent power outage had made life difficult due to the prevailing hot weather.

Badamasi said that the situation had forced most families to sleep outside, exposing themselves to mosquitoes and other health hazards.

Alhaji Illiyasu Babaji, a shop keeper, said he relied on power generator to run his businesses, which was very expensive.

Also read: Trio arraigned for illegal oil bunkering

Another resident, Khalid Idris, also called on the Jigawa Government to complete the Independent Power project (IPP) in Dutse, to enhance power supply in the state and the country generally.

The IPP project was initiated by Saminu Turaki’s administration in 2003, but abandoned in the past 12 years.

The project was designed to provide about 100 megawatts of electricity to Dutse and its environs.

In Bauchi, consumers described the erratic power supply being experienced nationwide as 'worrisome'.

Malam Usman Faruk, an Iron bender, said he now relied fully on his power generating set, spending a lot to purchase fuel and by extension, depleting his profit.

Malam Yakubu Mohammad, a seller of soft drinks, said that power outage had affected his sales as customers demanded for cool drinks that were almost always not available.

Commenting on the situation, the General Manager, Bauchi Meat Factory Company, Dr Alkasim Ibrahim, said that company was grappling with similar challenge.

He said that the company now relied heavily on power generator due to unstable power supply from electricity distribution companies, making it difficult for the company to break even.

However, the Technical Manager of the Jos Electricity Distribution Company, Bauchi Office, Yunusa Abubakar, said that power supply had improved in the past few months.

He suggested the establishment of more power generating stations in the country through the use of the various dams.

He also advised that alternative renewable energy sources in the country should be harnessed to improve electricity supply.

"There are other ways of improving electricity supply, through the use of renewable energy, such as solar and the use of animal dung,'' he said.

Electricity consumers in Gombe also expressed concern over the situation which they observed, had been degenerating over the years.

Some of them said that the challenge was a major factor affecting the growth of the Nigerian economy.

Malam Abubakar Bala, who engages in metal works, said he was forced to buy a power generator to sustain his business.

Malam Abdulrasheed Mohammed, a trader, said that he and his colleagues were facing a lot of challenges due to insufficient power supply.

Reacting to the complaints, Alhaji Umar Isawa, Business Manager of the Jos Electricity Distribution Company in Gombe State, said the power allocated to the state from the national grid, varied from time to time.

According to him the state used to consume about 60 Megawatts but was reduced to 10 megawatts due to insufficiency.

Isawa said the customers should also share the blame for the outages as some of them tampered with facilities of the company without permission.

In Yobe, residents of Damaturu said the expected improvement from the decentralization of PHCN had not achieved the desired results in the state.

Malam Usman Lamu, a barber in Damaturu, said consumers celebrated the privatisation and decentralisation of PHCN with the hope that there would be improvement in power supply to spur economic activities.

"But this has not been the case, at least in Damaturu," he lamented.

He said barbers, hair dressers, tailors, welders and electronic appliances mechanics relied on power generating sets for electricity supply.

Babayo Audu, a welder said some of his colleagues had to quit the job due to erratic power supply as only few could afford generating sets to execute their trades.

"With the recent scarcity in petroleum products across the country, only very few welders were operating and serving desperate customers at exorbitant rates," he said.



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