Nigeria recovers $64.6m electricity debt from international customers

Abuja, Nov 13, 2017 (TNE) Nigeria on Monday announced the recovery of US$ 64.6 million electricity debt from its
international customers.

The Minster of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, announced this at the 21st monthly power-sector meeting in Asaba, Delta State.

Fashola said that the money recovered was from Benin and Niger Republics.

He said that the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET) would work out modalities for distribution of the fund to the value chain operators.

The minister also announced that Rural Electrification Agency (REA) had completed guidelines for the operation of the rural electrification fund.

He said that the fund would help vulnerable groups and communities to gain access to funding to support their electricity development programme.

“By way of explanation, the rural electrification fund was created by section 88 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) of 2005 to promote, support and provide rural electrification access.

“The fund will provide a partial single payment capital subsidy and or technical assistance to eligible private Rural Power Developers, NGOs or communities to invest in options such as hybrid mini grids or solar home systems to scale up rural access to electricity.

“What they are likely to get are minimum amounts of N3.5 million and maximum amounts of N106 million or 75 per cent of the project cost whichever is less,” he said.

According to him, REA will publish details of the guidelines and eligibility.

These, he said, are only headline items of developments that characterise the progress the government is making month after month, especially since March 2017.

He said that progress is also being recorded at the distribution levels.

He listed the recent achievements in the franchise areas of the Benin DisCo to include the newly-completed Asaba main 2x15MVA injection substation inaugurated on Monday.

Fashola said the completion of the substation is expected to improve service by reducing load shedding and increasing power supply to Okwe, Akuebulu, Jarret, Ogbeofu, Osadebe way, Okwe housing estate and Oduke.

“Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week and month by month, we have not only gained momentum, we are seeing progress that inspires us to continue, because the power problem can be successfully managed by Nigerians.”

On further measures to improve power supply in the coverage areas of the Benin DisCos, Fashola said Asaba – Benin 330KV line was energised to service on Nov. 3.

Asaba 330kv substation is now being fed from both Benin and Onitsha.

“The line also raised the number of circuits from Onitsha to Benin to three.”

According to him, a 40mva 132/33kv mobile transformer is undergoing installation at Auchi with in-house capacity to be commissioned in two weeks.

Fashola also esplained that a new 330/ 132kv substation would be constructed at Okpai with a 132kv line from the station to service a proposed 132/33kv substation at Kwale.

He also hinted that installation of a new 60mva 132/33kv transformer would commence at Irrua transmission station any time from now.

The minster thanked well-meaning Nigerians who acknowledged that their experience on the power supply has improved, adding that their honesty inspired government and the operators to continue the improvement.

He, however, admitted that there are other challenges that must be collectively addressed.

On estimated billing and metering, he also explained that government and sector operators are anxiously awaiting the regulation from NERC to open up meter supply business.

(TNE)

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