By Anthony Isaac
After several weeks of gas supply challenge to power plants across the country, the Federal Government on Wednesday said it has paid N200 billion to power generation companies (GenCos) to enable them pay gas suppliers.
The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) had last month raised alarm that several power plants were operating at zero capacity due to gas shortages.
The power plants then followed up in a statement by the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC) that they were unable to meet up with the demands of the gas suppliers which asked for an upfront payment before gas is supplied.
Speaking to journalists after a meeting with the Minister of Power in Abuja, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari said the government has released the money to the GenCos to enable them pay the gas suppliers as part of effort to boost power supply in the country.
According to him, “The Federal Government has made payment of over N200 billion for power in the past two to three days, this will go a long way in making sure that those payment issues are resolved and we are engaging as government to make sure that those payment issues are fully settled.”
He disclosed that the meeting was held at the instance of the minister to further improve gas supply to the power plants.
He said: “I will visit some of the plants by tomorrow to make sure that any curtailment that is in the system is sorted out and ultimately Nigerians during this period of lockdown will have better access to power”.
He continued: “This also means that Nigerians will get better access to power during this lockdown period and going forward.
“There are issues around power supply process and we have discussed most of them and we are moving as a team to make sure that we resolve issues around payment and evacuation.
“We are very confident that this will get the desired result. We will visit some power plants tomorrow to make sure that we sort out any issue to ensure that Nigerians have access to better power”, he added.
On his part, the Managing Director of TCN, Mr. Usman Gur Mohammed said gas supply has improved at several power plants.
“The suppliers always divert it to other place and from time to time, we always have constraints of gas and that is a big problem to us.
“With this meeting that has taken place and for the fact that the Minister has prevailed on the GMD of NNPC because we are still the same government, to asset in the supply of gas to the power plants, we believe that we are going to have more sustainable power supply going forward especially during this period of COVID-19,” Mohammed stated.
Also, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Mr Chiedu Ugbo who was part of the meeting said the NIPP GenCos under the control of the company will get the gas fund and pay up.
“We will soon get our own part of the payment and I assured the GMD of NNPC that as soon as NDPHC is paid, we have our payment vouchers ready, all we will is do is press the button and remit what goes to gas.”
He stated that Calabar NIPP is the only NIPP plant with gas agreement.
“Thankfully, the gas was there during this period and we ramped up production. We did 400 megawatts (MW) of power when every other plant was down”, he added.
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