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Group blames obsolete equipment for incessant collapse of national grid

The Electricity Consumer Protection Forum has blamed the incessant collapse of the national grid on obsolete power transmission and distribution equipment across the country.

Its National Coordinator, Mr Adeola Samuel-Ilori, made the assertion on Wednesday in Lagos.

Samuel-Ilori said that the electricity end users were worst hit by the epileptic power supply as they had to spend their hard earned resources in seeking for alternative power supply to their homes and businesses.

“The frequent collapse of the grid, these days, are factors of many things which include obsolete lines, materials still in place and non-investment in that area.

“The Transmission Company of Nigeria should be asked why such equipment is not replaced despite the intervention funds supplied by the African Development Bank (AfDB),’’ he said.

According to him, the privatisation process has not yielded the desired result due to the non-performance of the transmission and distribution layers as well as their failure to invest in equipment.

He said that the Forum just received a complaint from a community in Ifako-Gbagada, saying that their transformer, which recently packed up, is 30 years old.

“Yet, the distribution company is not ready to invest in buying another one.

“Such obsolete transformers can do wrong feedback which may lead to grid collapse and we have many of them like that across the country,’’ Samuel-Ilori said.

He also opposed the plan by the Federal Government to obtain a $3 billion World Bank loan to upgrade power infrastructure, noting that it was not proper for the government to obtain such loans in a relatively privatised sector.

Samuel-Ilori said the move was part of the five-year power recovery programme of the former Minister of Power, Mr Babatunde Fashola, which was unveiled in 2018.

He said when it was unveiled, the government estimated $2.6 billion for the project and that it was, therefore, surprising that an additional $400 million was being sought for it.

“I was part of the stakeholders that the ministry requested position paper from, and in conjunction with the Nigeria Labour Congress, we submitted it but was never implemented.

“In that position paper, we vehemently rejected the loan, proposed to be collected on behalf of a relatively privatised sector and that such will not yield any result.

“In the past, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervention funds, since the beginning of privatisation, never yielded any feasible result to effect of providing meters and stable power supply to Nigerians.

“Now it has been increased to $3 billion without explanation as to the increase,’’ Samuel-Ilori added.

He disclosed that the forum had decided to write a letter to the new Minister of Power, Mr Salleh Mamman, demanding the rationale for the increase and highlight of what they intend to use the additional funds for.

The coordinator maintained that while such investments in equipment were good for the sector, they should, however, be done in a transparent manner and for the interest of the Nigerian people.


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