By Adewale Sanyaolu
The Federal Government has announced that about N37 billion is now available for electricity distribution companies (Discos) to assist them in their metering plans.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, stated this at the 21st Monthly Power Sector Operators Meeting held in Asaba, Delta State, yesterday.
The Minister said, following the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) earlier in the year, the dispute over meter supply contract that started since 2003, was resolved by a court approved settlement last Thursday.
He explained that the N37 billion is available for meter supply by the contractor to DisCos who want to partner and can reach their independent agreement with the contractor, adding that, while it awaits the regulations by NERC, a lot of preparatory work can be done.
On the progress achieved in the last one month towards incremental and steady power supply, Fashola announced that, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) expanded transmission capacity in Zaria, Kaduna State and Funtua, in Katsina State by adding 40 and 60MVA transformers to the transmission sub-station to increase the TCN capacity to transmit power in those areas
Also, he said the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) completed consultation and issued the regulations needed to guide the operations and implementation of the eligible customer declaration to increase capacity to distribute power
“Rural Electrification Agency (REA) completed the guidelines for the operation of the rural electrification fund that will help vulnerable groups and communities gain access to funding to support their electricity development programme.
By way of explanation the Rural Electrification Fund was created by Section 88 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) of 2005 to promote support and provide rural electrification access.
The fund will provide a partial single payment capital subsidy and or technical assistance to eligible private Rural Power Developers, NGOs or communities to invest in options such as hybrid mini grids or solar home systems to scale up rural access to electricity.
Those who will be served are the unserved and underserved Rural Communities. What they are likely to get are minimum amounts of $10,000 (N3.5m) and maximum amounts of $300,000. (N106m) or 75 per cent of project cost which ever is less. The REA will publish details of guidelines and eligibility,’’ he said.
He disclosed that, the progress this year was due to many things done by Government and the peace in the gas producing regions which enabled it to get the gas stations and the hydro stations to work together.
‘‘Now that the rains are coming to an end we expect some minor, not major, reduction in the production from the Hydro, and we must work now to keep all the gas stations well maintained and operational. I am sure that we can do this, if there is peace in the gas producing areas and gas supply is not interrupted,’’.