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Challenges, hopes as Power-Africa berths with 10,000mw

Even as the privatised sector enters its ninth month, consumers have raised several complaints ranging from inadequate power supply to being short-changed in the estimated…

Even as the privatised sector enters its ninth month, consumers have raised several complaints ranging from inadequate power supply to being short-changed in the estimated billing system.
But the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo had said the federal government is leaving no stone unturned in the quest to providing adequate power supply to the estimated 200 million population in Nigeria.
The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo in a recent briefing said various investors are being wooed to invest in the private-led power sector to fast-track the reform with the recent inclusion of Nigeria in the first tranche of the United States Power Africa initiative.
The programme according to officials is expected to add 10,000 megawatts (mw) to its beneficiaries in the African continent of which Nigeria is partaking in its 1st phase.
Addressing the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle shortly after signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the pact last week, Nebo said: “At the end of this first tranche, it is expected that 20million Africans will see the light and tens of thousands communities (including Nigeria) will have access to power.”
Ambassador Entwistle in his remarks said the Power Africa in Nigeria and five other countries in the first phase “supports the strengthening of the energy sector through credit enhancement, grants, and technical assistance and investment promotions efforts.”
The federal ministry of power disclosed that  with the signing of the MoU, more investors will be engaging in enhancing the electricity network by facilitating the enhancement of the transmission network and supporting to build new power plants that could add more capacity to the current grid availability.
In a quick succession, a Chinese company, Liaoning Efacec Electrical Equipment Company China (LEEEC) said it is coming still under the Power Africa initiative to support on local content development especially on power equipment manufacturing in Nigeria.
According to its delegate, Ms Huang Xueli and Chairman of LEEEC Nigeria, Chief Samuel Anyamele, it has its specialty in Engineering Procurement and Contracting (EPC) operating in the country for decades to build power plants, transmission lines, sub-stations and mobile sub-stations.
Anyamele who spoke on this said the decision of the company to upgrade its operation in the country through the pact, was “in demonstration of its desire to partner for the improvement of the power sector.”
Anyamele said the company would be focusing on executing turnkey EPC projects such as mobile power generations, mobile substations, E-House package substations and power transmission infrastructures including High Voltage (HV) transmission lines and associated substations.
He noted that the completion of these infrastructures would increase the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to about 10,000mw saying: “It is a win-win situation where we stand to benefit from the immense opportunities available in opening up the power sector and deliver quality products that will strengthen its operations.”
Responding to its means of overcoming challenges in power infrastructural deficit, Anyamele said his company has a track record of producing high-quality products that will stand the test of time and would be certified by qualified technical experts in the electricity field.
“The power sector holds the key to the economic and social transformation of Nigeria to make it take its desired place amongst the strongest economies of the world. We hope that by the time this is over, LEEEC will be part of that envious history,” he stated.
The investors under the Power Africa pact, experts said should be helping to develop local content with the training of engineers, artisans, lines men, and joiners in the electricity industry.
Speaking with Daily Trust, a Power Engineering consultant, Engr. Hashim Audu who reacted to the start of the Power-Africa in Nigeria said the pact may hardly fulfil its objectives if government fails to channel the opportunity to improving power supply immediately.
He said: “It is obvious that Nigerians are already losing confidence in the privatised companies over poor electricity supply.”
“Distribution companies (Discos) must be urged by the electricity regulator to embark on instant metering to stop the estimated billing system immediately as many Nigerians are being short-changed,” Audu added.
Power Minister, Prof. Nebo who independently concurred with this submission had lamented the lack of access to electricity in rural areas. While he enjoined LEEEC and other investors under the Power Africa pact to take rural electrification seriously, he said: “I need not stress the importance of light in the life of a people. For our rural community, light is needed in times like this.”
He decried inadequate power supply describing it as a bane to industrial growth while giving an instance. “Light is very critical. Recently, Mr. President commissioned the largest rice mill in Africa in Nasarawa state. Incidentally, that rice mill has no power yet. And so, they utilise 12,000 litres of diesel daily to generate power,” he lamented.
Nebo said the ministry would do everything to encourage any company investing in the power sector to ‘reap’ optimum benefits just as it urged LEEEC to actually sets up production facilities in the country that will provide employment and reduce production cost.
“We do hope that LEEEC will start manufacturing on Nigerian soil what they manufacture on China, because it appears that almost everything they designed is taken back home and manufactured.
“The best way to save money will be to manufacture power equipment here, build human capacity resources in Nigeria, so that more of our people will get jobs,” Nebo directed.

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