Nigeria will meet its target if generating 6,000 megawatts of electricity by December 2009 if Gas is available to fire the turbines, Thisday newspapers reports
Speaking at the inauguration of the Health and Safety Standards manual by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, and its introduction to the electricity supply industry, Minister of State for Power, Mr. Nuhu Way said:
“We have up to 5,000 megawatts of electricity available as I am sitting here,” he told the audience comprising stakeholders from electricity consumers’ representatives to Nigerian National Petroleom Corporation (NNPC) and Nigerian Gas Company, among others.
“If you (NNPC and NGC) can supply gas to us today, the landscape of power supply will automatically change. Gas is the main issue now.”
The gas master plan, which is to meet that supply gap on a sustainable basis by providing the infrastructure to gather and supply gas, was launched only recently with the pre-qualification of 15 companies out of which the qualified ones will emerge at year-end after meeting certain conditions.
According to the timelines, the actual process of putting the structures in place will begin in January with a terminal date of 2011 when enough capacity will have been developed to utilise available gas, which will then lead to the stoppage of gas flaring and the provision of 10,000mw.
The minister of state however reaffirmed that the projected 6,000 mw the government hopes to attain by the end of this year was still attainable, adding that everything was being done to ensure improvement in the revenues of the utility companies, another issue militating against power supply.
This, he said, was being done through the Multi-Year Tariff Order, MYTO.
On the issue of safety, on which the Administrator of NERC, Imamuddeen Talba, disclosed, 42 incidents of electrocution were recorded last year, up from 23 recorded in 2007, Wya said government would no longer tolerate such situations.
“From now on, electrocution cases will no longer be treated lightly,” he said, adding that industry players must henceforth comply with the provisions of the manual, which contains steps to enhance safety and protection the citizens from the hazards of electricity usage. “A regulation is on to ensure that rewards and penalties are meted for Good Industry Practices and poor performance respectively.
On the high rate of electrocution, Talba said in his welcome remarks that most of the incidents occurred in the distribution companies, and warned that the situation was “extremely high” and therefore “unacceptable.”
According to him, “As the infrastructure expands to meet the needs of Nigeria as a nation, the standards will need to grow and expand,” he stated.
“Therefore, the standards as contained in the manual should be considered a living document that will be modified, expanded upon and in some instances contracted to meet the technological changes in the workforce.”
He said as the manual was being introduced to the industry, NERC expected and “enjoins all stakeholders to put in place structures that will ensure strict compliance with the set standards” in the document and subsequently ensure that the expected safety reforms were long-lasting and would ultimately lead to improved quality of service and saftey.
“In this vein, we request all generating, transmission and distribution companies to secure insurance cover for all their employees,” he stated. “We specifically request the transmission and distribution companies to secure third party liability insurance cover to protect and compensate the families of victims of electrocutions.”
He said any negligence or wreckless breach of the Safety Manual that leads to death would lead to appropriate criminal prosecution.
Talba also hinted that very soon, NERC would ask State governors to squarely address the issue of Right of Way as the practice of many Nigerians building residention houses or shops under high tension lines had become a “thorn in the flesh.”