By Ikuru Lizzy
Port Harcourt – The Minister of Power, Mr Saleh Mamman, has assured of Federal Government’s plan to increase electricity generation in Afam Power Station in Rivers State.
Mamman made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Port Harcourt.
He said that the plan was aimed at increasing electricity target, and channel it to the national grid for onward distribution to all the 36 states of the federation and beyond.
According to the minister, the tour of the power station is to ascertain its present status and strengthen the efforts towards an increased electricity target.
“I embarked on the tour with a view to knowing the status of one of our power plants in Afam, Oyigbo local area council of Rivers.
”I have inspected the facility and I am satisfied with what I saw, though I have some key observations.
“I am, therefore, looking forward to meeting with my directors on possible remedies and solutions to some of the complaints made by the Managing Director of the power station,” he said.
The minister also disclosed that the prospects in the power station were huge, saying it played host to six power stations of various turbine capacities.
“We have a huge prospect in Afam station; we have up to 6 power stations, all rolled into one, with the federal government owning five of the stations, while Shell owns the remaining one.
“Afam power station has various turbine capacities. For instance, Afam I has about 4 turbines, with a capacity of about 75 Megawatts (MW) each, same goes for Afam II up to Afam VI.
”So, putting all these figures together, one can clearly come up with a substantial figure in terms of power generation from the power station,” he said.
Mamman said that presently, not all the turbines in the stations were working, adding that only about four of the six stations were currently functional.
”We are also trying to see how the non-functional turbines can be revived to boost the capacity of the stations,” he said.
On metering and electricity billing, the minister said that the Federal Government had no business in direct power distribution.
“The discos are the power distributors; the Federal Government generates electricity, takes it to the discos and they, in turn, distribute same to the consumers.
“While the discos own 60 percent private stake, the government has 40 percent stake in the partnership. So it is the responsibility of the discos to provide meters and ensure that consumers are adequately metered and charged,” he said.
Mamman, however, said that the challenges affecting optimal performance of the Afam Power PLC since 2012 had not been included in the budget of the ministry till date.
He also said that the power station had only two functional turbines (GTs 17 and 18), with a total output of 110MW, adding that only one unit had so far been linked to the national grid.
“Due to the system’s inability to absorb more generation, gas-related issues, sometimes due to a complete shutdown of the units or mechanical faults, an optimal electricity target from Afam power station has remained unachievable,” the minister said.