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Power market’s debt to NDPHC hits N190bn

The total debt profile of Nigeria’s electricity market to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) has hit N190 billion. Managing Director of the NDPHC, Chiedu Ugbo, who said this yesterday during a presentation at the Senate hearing on power, declared that the N190 billion debt had become one of the challenges hampering growth of the power market. Despite the challenge posed by the debt, the NDPHC is still working assiduously to deliver on its mandate, Ugbo said. Stating that the firm’s output was also being hampered by generation and operational challenges, he noted that these include transmission constraints the company is faced with on a daily basis.

“The NDPHC’s available capacity is over 3,000MW, but it is dispatched at 800MW and below by the System Operator because of load rejection by distribution companies. “This inadequate dispatch grossly affects the company’s revenue generation capacity,” he declared. Another problem is the one culminating from Dis- Cos’ load rejection. He said: “The system operator order to start up and shut down generation unit due to load rejections are causing increased maintenance costs of the units. “Three gas plants on the eastern axis of the Niger Delta have full gas, but constrained by dispatch challenges. “In the same vein, five gas plants on the Western axis of the Niger Delta have major insufficient gas supply. As at today, gas requirement is about 560 mmscf per day while only 60 mmscf per day is available.

We are negotiating additional 50 mmscf/d with Seplat.” On liquidity challenge, he said, “there is a low revenue generation due to dispatch challenges.” Beyond this, he added that “there are low remittances from the market (NBET). Last collection as at March 2020 is 11.2 per cent of invoiced energy.

“The effects of these are high maintenance cost due to high frequency of shut down and start up. Short-age of spares due to paucity of funds to stock spares and the inability to execute gas contract with take or pay (top) security.” Ugbo reiterated that the NIPP GenCos under the company’s operations would get the gas fund and pay up. The NDPHC, he said, would soon receive its part of the payment and has already assured the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that as soon as the NDPHC was paid, payment vouchers would be ready for immediate remittance to the gas companies.

He said the Calabar NIPP was the only plant with a standard gas supply agreement. With the availability of gas during this period, he said electricity generation could be ramped up above 400 megawatts (MW) when every other plant is down. On the distribution section, Ugbo said his firm had been intervening by providing 500KVA transformers, wires and cables to replace faulty ones in the networks of the DisCos to ensure there is more access to electricity during this period. Meanwhile, the Senate Committee, during the session, accused the TCN of falsehood and bias by trying to excuse itself from being partly responsible for the country’s power problems. However, representative of the TCN, Edmond Ejeh, said that indiscipline on the part of the DisCos and Gen- Cos as well as the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) was responsible for Nigeria’s woes in the power sector.

He stated that power generation and supply had been on the downward slide since the privatization of the sector. He, therefore, advised the Federal Government to allow the electricity companies to be self-sustaining without having to be dependent on government’s intervention to keep them afloat. Also, in his remarks, the chairman of the committee, Senator Gabriel Suswam, accused the TCN of bias in stating the actual cause on the power crises.

 

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