NIPP moves to rescue over 800mw ‘stranded’ electricity
Officials said some of the power plants constructed under the National Integrated Power Plants (NIPP) were generating power, but not feeding the National Grid, because of challenges of transmission network.
The situation has been blamed largely on Right of Way(ROW) related issues with communities and individuals. Some of the projects were originally due to have been completed in 2009, while some were to have been completed two years ago, officials noted.
Executive Director in charge of Networks at NDPHC, Dr. Albert Okorogu, said communities and individuals who had ordinarily been compensated were holding the transmission projects to ransom with what he described as ‘frivolous’ demands.
He said: “We have issues of power outage. In a country of over 180million people, we barely generate 4,000mw and practically, most cities are left in the dark.
“The story out there is that government is not doing enough to provide electricity but these powers are stranded in many generation plants with people frustrating its evacuation and distribution to the nation.”
Conducting journalists round some of the shanties in some of the concerned sites, Okorogu said the structures were hurriedly erected along the right of way by communities and individuals.
He said adequate compensation had been made for cash crops, land, and structures around the way of the projects.
The tour took officials round the 330Kilovoltage (KV) transmission line connecting the 330mw Egbema plant around Ohaji in Imo State with Port Harcourt and Owerri, where they reported that new structures were erected right under the line, a dangerous situation when the lines are energised for power evacuation.
Some of the 330KV transmission towers were said to have been mulls down at night.
Okorogu gave an instance of a situation where a medical doctor allegedly mobilised youths to hack down a tower weighing about 30tonnes with a generator and steel saw over perceived inadequate compensation at the ROW.
About 45 uncompleted structures were also erected along the Enugu-Ikot Ekpene line that connects the completed 563mw Calabar plant in Odukpani.
Head of Environment at NDPHC, Mr. Ben Iruoha, gave further highlights into the situation.
He said: “to allow construction of transmission lines, we had to create a corridor of ROW to build two level transmission lines of 330KV and 132KV voltage levels with 50metres and 30metres space requiring the acquisition of land and due payment of compensation.
“We had gone through these processes sometimes more than twice due to legal constraints especially along the Port Harcourt, Egbema, Ikot Ekpene, Owerri axis where people go to get court injunctions to stop our nearly completed facilities for not paying them enough compensation or for us to pay them another round,”he added.
He explained further: “these encroachments and court injunctions have delayed transmission facilities that have caused stranded electricity supply in recent times especially from the 330mw Egbema NIPP, the Afam Power in Port Harcourt and 430mw Calabar plant in Odukpani.”
Executive Director (Legal) at NDPHC, Mr Mahmud Mohammed said: “We have a lot of stranded power in the completed stations but we need to evacuate them to the grid through the transmission stations. If these facilities are continually hacked down, how then do these power get to Nigerians even there is over 6,000mw capacity to generate power.”