Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: PHCN Workers - Power Minister Pledges New Approach

Minister of state for power, Hajiya Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi has pledged a new approach to resolve the lingering dispute between the federal government and the workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) over severance package.

The workers have been having a running battle with the federal government after the PHCN was unbundled and successor companies put up for sale for private owners. They have asked government give them severance pay before the firms are handed over to the new investors but both parties are yet to reach a common ground on the methodology to adopt.

Speaking on Friday at the performance contract signing ceremony with CEOs of agencies under the ministry, Hajiya Zainab said "by next week, we will adopt a different approach to solving the labour issue."

Also speaking at the event, the CEOs said they have devised new methods to optimize electricity supply in the country, just as they revealed that a target of 6, 873MW has been set for next year.

The CEO of Egbin Power Plant, Lagos, Engr. Mike Uzoigwe, who spoke on behalf of the power generating companies, said considering the capacity of each power station, plant overhaul and maintenance program and expected water inflow to the hydro power reservoirs, it is projected that 3, 879mw would be generated from PHCN successor companies and an extra 2500mw from the national integrated power plants (NIPP) to the national grid.

He said 200mw will by the first quarter of 2013 be added to the grid from the recovery work to be done in one units of the Egbin plant which had been down for eight years.

The Discos represented by the Ikeja Electricity distribution company, Engr. Chris Akamnonu said the funding remained one of their challenges as 10 percent of their IGR was spent on maintenance. He however assured that by the end of 2013, they would achieve universal metering for all their customers.

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