Sunday, 19 August 2012

Ughelli power plant adds 130MW to national grid

The Federal Government has
inaugurated a unit of the Ughelli
power plant, GT 18, recently
restored, to generate additional
130 megawatts.
Performing the exercise on
Friday, Minister of Power, Prof.
Bart Nnaji, said the project was
part of the Federal Government’s
efforts to boost power
generation and distribution in
the country.
In a related development, the
minister gave Ringardas Nigeria
Limited, an Indian firm, 20 days
to evacuate its bitumen tank,
built on a gas pipeline right of
way, during a tour of the Sapele
Power Plant.
The Ughelli power plant
generated 230MW from four
units before Friday’s
inauguration of a new unit.
With the repair of an additional
unit, bringing total functional
units to six, the station now has
a generating capacity of 360MW,
including the additional 130mw
to be added to the existing
4,300MW peak generation.
Promising steady supply of gas
to power the stations, Nnaji also
canvassed proper maintenance
and management of the facilities,
warning that the ministry would
not compromise standards.
Nnaji used the opportunity to
allay the fears of PHCN workers
over FG’s power reform, saying,
“Government cannot go to China
or any country outside to import
labour rather than you all who
are Nigerians and have acquired
experience over the years in
power generation and
distribution.”
Conducting the minister and his
entourage, including the Minister
of State for Power, Mr. Darius
Ishiaku and the Permanent
Secretary, Dr. Dere Awosika,
round the restored unit, the Chief
Executive Officer, Ughelli Power
Plc, Okechukwu Udeh, explained
that the GT 18 being inaugurated
remained the biggest
contributor, saying, that the
“other units like the GTs 8 and
12 Hitachi 25 gas turbine
generators were contributing
just 15mw.”
“The actual site design capacity
of these units is 20mw each, but
the units had to be de-rated for
extended operation. They are
due for major inspection. In fact
all the units in Delta II and III
require major inspection to
restore them to their original
status,” Udeh said.
He added, “We tried to prove a
point and make a statement that
it is possible to recover lost
generation over time and sustain
available capacity without
recourse to the Federal
Government budget”.
“This is possible only if the IGR is
sustained in form of revenue
from payment for energy
delivered. We are convinced that
the electricity industry is capable
of sustaining itself by accounting
and paying for energy delivered
less technical losses.”
He, however, expressed regret
that the application adversely
affected the company’s
operation, leaving it with
unsettled invoices arising from
funds mopped up in 2010 and
unreleased 2011 budget fourth
quarter funds.
At the Sapele power plant, also in
Delta State, the power minister
observed the presence of a huge
tank along the pipeline supplying
gas from the Nigerian Gas
Company to the PHCN power
plant and demanded to see the
owners.
The company officials explained
that they secured a court
injunction before going ahead
with construction.
Nnaji, who expressed anger, said
nowhere in the world were
people allowed to build in such a
manner.
He said, “There is nowhere in the
world where a court injunction is
issued empowering anyone to
build on a right of way created
by law. Therefore, I am giving
you 20 days to remove the
tanks.”

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