The Managing Director of Omotosho Power Company, Engr. Samuel Itsekiri has commended the Federal Government for the steps being taken address the Gas and liquidity challenges as well as resolving the community issues affecting the performance of the Power Plant.
Giving a background of the Omotosho Power Plant after conducting the Hon. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN round during his tour of Projects in the South West zone, the Managing Director said the Power Plant located at the Omotosho Forest Reserve in Okitipupa LGA, was commissioned on April 17, 2007, privatized on November 1, 2013 to Pacific Energy Company Limited, and is “an open cycle gas-turban power plant with a capacity of 335MW”.
But, according to him, under local conditions, the capacity is 304MWs, adding with eight turbines at takeover, the availability was very poor. “We had just three units available at that time running at minimal load. But as at today due to the efforts of the Pacific Group, who sourced for funds and the amount of money spent, we are happy to announce to you that the plant records (80) per cent availability”, he said.
He told the Minister, “We have all our units running and it might interest you to know that in December 2015 when we had enough gas we generated 307MWs, 2MWs above installed capacity. All the plants are still very healthy. This feat has been possible because of our technical experts”.
On some of the constraints the company has, the Managing Director who listed gas as the major one, however, thanked the Minister for the efforts he is making to address it adding that about three months back the company barely ran 1,2 or 3 units at reduced load.
“But as at today, because of the efforts you are making and that of the Government, we have six units running at full load and the other two are still available. The gas supply has been improving gradually; so as soon as the gas improves further we will add the other two”, he assured.
He commended the Minister for the efforts he is also making to make funds available for Generation Companies like Omotosho disclosing that he just returned from Abuja where he had gone for a meeting and learnt of the efforts the Minister has made to improve their fund supply.
On stability, which he also named as another major challenges, the Managing Director expressed delight that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) was now working on it because, according to him, the Minister has given them a marching order to look at it.
He added, however, “But that area has not been totally solved because we are still having some few tripping. Last week we still recorded some and this week I heard we’ve recorded one”, expressing joy that the level of tripping was reducing as work goes on. “We believe that in a short time from now that issue will also be resolved”, he said.
He thanked the Minister for his intervention on the community issue adding, “The power supply to the host community is an issue that has been there for a long time. But happily about a month ago we drew the attention of the Hon. Minister to it and he has taken it up. Presently the Niger Delta Power Holding Company is on it. A team visited me about a week ago to assess what is to be done and is being done”.
He commended the Minister’s commitment to the “onerous task of providing light for all Nigerians”.
After years of blackout in spite of playing host to two power stations (335 Megawatts Omotosho Phase I Power Plant now owned by Pacific Energy Limited and 500MW Megawatts Omotosho Phase II Power Plant developed by Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited), the Omotosho Community will soon be beneficiaries of electricity supply from the Power Plants.
Earlier, while speaking with the staff of the company and members of the Omotosho Community at the premises of the company, Fashola disclosed that the Managing Director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited, Mr Chiedu Ugbo has assured that the community would be hooked onto the power before the end of April.
Fashola, who noted that issue of the local community supply was an inherited problem, explained further that it took some time to solve because government felt that the larger national interest of protecting the power plant transmission substation, commissioned in 2007, was very important just like the need to supply light to the community.
The Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited had constructed a 33kV distribution line from the power plant substation to the Omotosho Community. However, it could not be connected because of concerns that distribution faults arising from the line as a consequence of abnormal load connections could damage the Power Transformer in the Power plant substation, which will adversely affect the power plant itself.
Assuring the community that the issue was already being addressed, the Minister, said the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) had come to assess the situation and were doing what was necessary. He thanked the Omotosho Community for waiting and for forbearing, adding, “But help and solution is on the way”.
Fashola, who described the decision by Pacific Energy Company Limited to invest in the Omotosho Phase 1 Plant as “a big statement of confidence by Nigerians in their economy”, expressed delight that the reality would provide a basis for true and factual reporting for the media. He said the facts as witnessed during the tour proved wrong the tendency of some sections of the media whom he said sometimes indulge in over-generalization that the companies that bought the nation’s power assets were not investing.
The Minister declared, “I am happy that some of you the press men are here; because I hope that this will begin to provide the factual basis for your reporting; Because there has been too much generalization of what is happening and what is not happening and it is not helping the public to know the truth and facts from opinions”.
“This was an asset when they bought it, as you have seen, some of the turbines were not operational. Today all the turbines are now operational and it means they did something. So it is not correct, as some of you are reporting, that they have not invested any money. So, I think you need to correct that based on your experience”, he said.
He, however, explained that while the turbines have been fully repaired they, like the generators, needed fuel which, in this case, is gas adding, “The more gas we get, the more power we will get”.
Fashola commended the President, the Vice President, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, the Managing Director NNPC and all of those who are involved in producing and supplying gas and all the private investors “for the work, the commitment that we have seen, the Legislators, the Senators, Members of the House of Representatives and all in the family”.
“It is a family event not just our Ministry. Everybody is doing something and we want everybody to do more”, the Minister said adding that in order to achieve success it was important that those who indulge in breaking the gas pipelines desist from the act.
He declared, “But we must also appeal to our brothers who are breaking the pipelines; because it is important for all of us to understand that we can fix this problem some of which we have seen and which we have solved. There will be no life without problems. Our responsibility is to confront them, engage them and find solutions to them”.
Thanking the staff of the company, especially the Nigerian workers, whom he described as “the solution to our problem”, Fashola, who praised them for the work they are doing in the place, declared, “And on behalf of Mr. President I thank you. He continues to tell me to thank all of those who are helping to build Nigeria by working hard; he continues to tell me, ‘everywhere you go, thank them for me’ and I know you are qualified for that thanks from the President”.