The Minister of State for Power, Hajiya Zainaib Ibrahim Kuchi, has told the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that power generation in the country would peak at 10,000 megawatts by the end of December 2014.
Kuchi said this would translate to between 17 and 18 hours a day of power supply in the country.
She spoke at the national secretariat of the PDP when she and the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, briefed the executive organ of the party of their stewardship so far.
According to the Minister of State who responded to questions, "In 2014, we envisage 10,000 megawatts. God willing, with our short and long term, and immediate strategies, we have been working assiduously with all the other stakeholders in the power sector to achieve this.
"With all the other National Independent Power Project (NIPP) work going on and the Niger Delta Power Company (NDPC)coming up and to be inaugurated by December 2013, we look forward to 10, 000 megawatts come December 2014. And this is what we are working towards. If we succeed in making it more than that, we would be very happy. But we are focused on actually delivering 10,000 megawatts by 2014. And this by our calculations and data, we have on ground, we give at least between 17 and 18 hours of power supply to Nigerians. The 24 hours power supply will happen but we are working steadily towards that."
On the frequent system collapse in the power sector, the minister said: "the ministry set up a committee that addressed this issue of system collapse. We had 15 all put together and this was cause by an act of God not by act of man, because when the shrubs grew too high, they actually affected the transmission line.
"So, what we are doing about that is a mechanised system of addressing the issues of making such that the transmission lines are cut so that system collapse can be minimised because 75 per cent or 72 per cent of the cause of system collapse was the shrubs that was affecting transmission lines. This we are working very hard to address. The implementation of the mechanised cutting of the vegetation is going to be addressed by the committee that worked on it. So we envisage a situation where by having worked and addressed the system collapse issues, very soon, we are going to see less of that."
On the Manitoba crisis, Kuchi said: "We don't have issues there. We have addressed the issues we had with them. It was the issue of due process and this was addressed and we now have them fully on board, in charge and with a board to beef up their management antics there and we the ministry supporting them as we go along. So I envisage that very soon, we will have a perfect situation in the TCN management and we don't look forward to or hope for any crisis. What we envisage there is building of systems that will make the place work and make it very perfect for a post-privatisation power sector so that we can to address the issues that are required there.
She further stated that although the solar initiative was capital intensive, a lot of Independent Power Projects (IPPs) had come in and were interested in delivering.
She added: "We are just finalising on the tariff, issues because you need tariff and you need to address the issue of subsidy. Because it is capital intensive, taking it to the rural areas where it is most needed and where it will make most impact, needed some kind of subsidies and serious planning such that whoever invests in the project has to recoup what has been invested."
In his comment, the Minister of Power, Nebo, lamented that the ministry was inhibited by transmission challenges explaining that any attempt to put 5,000 megawatts into the transmission network would result in an immediate system collapse.
According to him, "We are inhibited by the amount of power we can actually transmit. If for instance all of a sudden we decide to put 5,000 megawatts into the transmission network, the system will immediately collapse. That is why we are spending a lot of resources working to beef up the transmission network in Nigeria.
"That is very critical and transmission is a veritable bottleneck for now. The minister has said the government is earmarking a huge sum of money, we are looking at investment portfolios from all kinds of investors to ensure that we eventually have the type of grid moving from the radial grid to the national grid and eventually to the super grid to transmit all the power that we generate. If we keep generating and not transmitting, there will be load rejection at the distribution end, and that will hit the transmission and then cause the system to go off.