By John Ikani
Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu has said that the nationwide blackout being experienced across the states including the Federal Capital Territory is as a result of low water levels in the hydro dams.
Aliyu made the explanation on Thursday during a briefing on the state of the Presidential Power Initiatives (PPI) and other key projects being undertaken by the Federal Government.
There have been severe power shortage across major cities including the FCT since last month, a development that has led to increased spending in alternative source of electricity by businesses and households.
The Minister who further explained that gas plants ought to have complemented hydro dams in electricity generation, added that the plants are currently under maintenance and construction.
To address the challenges, Aliyu explained that major power plants in the country are being completed.
The Minister noted that the challenges have been identified, adding that there are both short-term and long-term solutions to the threat.
What the Minister said:
“I would like to discuss the increased loads-hedding you may have observed in Abuja and other areas in the country. With the reduction in hydro capacity during the dry season, additional load needs to be taken up by our gas plants.
“We are having maintenance work in the Isan axis around Odukpani leading to reduced power supply from the usually reliable NDPHC Calabar power plant. And we are having challenges at the Okoloma gas station linked to the Afam 6 Power Plant.
“We are working with NNPC and other gas suppliers also to improve the pressure on the western axis that is precluding these units from reaching optimum supply. These challenges are surmountable and we have a three prong approach as we are executing.”
“In addition, we are working on more gas supply contracts for the power sector, backed by improved liquidity. These contracts will have stiff financial penalties for underperformance.
“We will complete the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Station, the Katsina Wind Plant, Kashimbila Hydropower Station, as well as ensure the challenges are permanently resolved, partnering with the Ministry of Water Resources.
“Also, work is in progress to resolve issues that have prevented large on grid solar from taking off in Nigeria. We are retooling the system operator for improved dispatch, optimization based on technology technologies and improved maintenance schedule alignment across generators.”