President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday inaugurated the rehabilitated Unit 6 and the overhauled Unit 4 of the Egbin Power Station in Lagos, which effectively added 240 megawatts to the national grid and also restored the power plant to its full capacity of 1,320 megawatts.
With the completion of the projects, the country’s power generation capacity now stands at 5,500 megawatts for the first time in history but actual generation on Saturday was 3,800 megawatts as a result of the recent acts of vandalism on of the Escravos-Lagos pipeline network, which supplies gas to some power stations.
Speaking at the official inauguration of Units 4 and 6 at Egbin, President Jonathan said the initiative was a major milestone in the government’s power reform programme.
“The facility introduces not just improvement in generation capacity of our nation but it is also a clear representation of the next logical step in our vision for reliable and qualitative access to power for our people. Since I launched the roadmap on power on August 26, 2010 in Lagos, I have been greatly encouraged at the progress so far towards reforming the power sector,” he said.
President Jonathan stated that based on the progress made so far, the country would get out of the current epileptic power supply very soon.
He said the fact remained that electricity would continued to be the catalyst for the growth of economy, adding that a successful stabilisation of power would ultimately improve the lives of millions of Nigerians.
He said the power reform was to actualise the essence of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005, which strives to open up the sector and bring in the private ownership, management and financing to the industry, adding that his administration had laid a strong foundation for the electricity industry.
“So, for the government, there is no going backwards. We must actually stabilise power in our country. Today, the rehabilitation of the 220megawatts turbine has restored Egbin to its full capacity,” he added
He said the planned rehabilitation of the remaining four units by the new owners would increase the lifespan of the power station by additional 20 years. President Jonathan said his administration would remain focused, despite the security challenges, adding that he would reduce the current excesses of terror within a short time.
Also speaking, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said the restoration of Egbin to its full capacity was the fruit of the President’s candour, doggedness, tenacity of purpose, and dexterity of purpose, as well as his commitment, which has been so unwavering in the full implementation of the privatisation of the power sector.
He stated that the country now has the capacity to generate 5,500 megawatts, adding however, that vandalism restricted generation to 3,800 mw as at Saturday.
“Your Excellency, since privatisation, the power sector has received as it were a new baton to move Nigeria to the next level of moving in the direction of uninterrupted power supply. Your Excellency, since privatisation and handing over to the private sector, distribution and generation value chains of the electricity sector, we have seen an employment of over 2,000 engineers hired in the sector. Your Excellency, please remember that for 16 years before you became President, the entire power sector in the country under both NEPA and PHCN did not hire a single engineer. The level of dilapidation of the power sector that you inherited was so huge that it was not only with regards to material components but also with regards to human resources. It was also with regards to funding that was allowed to go so low that it appeared the power sector had become an orphan,” Nebo said.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Board of Egbin Power Plc, Mr. Kola Adesina, said the event marked the inauguration of Unit 6, following its successful rehabilitation after eight years of disrepair and also the overhauling and retooling of Unit 4.
He described Egbin as the largest power plant in Africa, comprising six units of 220 megawatts each with a total capacity of 1,320 megawatts.
Adesina further stated that the new owners will double the capacity of Egbin in the next four years, adding that the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) of the additional 1,320 megawatts is being implemented.
According to him, the Egbin Power Plant is so critical to the nation as it accounts on a daily basis for about 20 per cent of the power generated in the country.
He said with the completion of the two projects, over one million homes in Lagos would enjoy additional six hours per day of stable power supply with over 6,000 direct jobs as well as 10,000 indirect employment to be created in terms of support and maintenance services, engineering, procurement in the power sector
“Mr. President, the unit that you are here to commission is an example of the benefits that privatisation of the power sector is bringing to the nation. The unit broke down in 2006 and for seven years was not rehabilitated due to sundry challenges. On handover of the power plant to us, the new owners –KEPCO and Sahara Group in 2013, we immediately made the rehabilitation a priority, culminating in the completion of the repair works. Recognising the importance of commerce and industry to your transformation programme, the Unit 6 output is to be made available under an innovative bilateral commercial arrangement to Eko and Ikeja Electricity Distribution Companies to help improve power availability in Lagos and its industrial outlets. We are indeed leading a new dawn in job creation within Lagos and its environs and fostering gains in the gross domestic product of the economy as well as the reduction in crimes. In addition to supporting the ideals of a cleaner and greener state, with reduced use of generators leading to healthier environment and improved quality of life,” he explained.
“We have additionally for the first time since the firing of Unit 4 turbine 30 years, just completed three weeks ago its overhauling and re-tooling in order to enhance the control philosophy,” he added.
It is important at this stage to acknowledge and salute Mr. President for the audacious N213 billion CBN intervention fund initiative. The facility is to help offset legacy gas debts and address the revenue shortfall in the sector. We have recruited 107 engineers and invested heavily in the rehabilitation of the plant, despite the fact that we have not been paid,” Adesina added.