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Minister blames debts, low gas supply for power plants’ inability to operate to capacity

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The Minister of Power, Bayo Adelabu, has blamed unpaid debts and low gas supply for the inability of power plants to operate to capacity in Nigeria.

Speaking when he visited the Olorunsogo Power Plant in Papalanto, Ogun State, and the Omotosho Power Plant in Ondo State on Wednesday, the Minister explained that the two government power plants are managed by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company.

He further explained that the tour was part of his nationwide visit to power installations of the Federal Government to inspect and monitor the physical state and the operational state of these power plants.

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He added, “l am amazed at the level of under-utilisation of these power installations,” while saying that he was impressed with the size and the technology of the Olorunsogo and Omotosho power plants.”

He stated that each of the power plants operates below 25 per cent capacity, at a time the nation is still complaining about low power generation.

He alleged that the under-capacity utilisation is due to a variety of reasons, as the major part of it is the shortage in gas supply to these installations, pointing out that his inspection is to find out how to improve their operational capacities.

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Adelabu lamented that huge debts were being owed the generation companies as a result of electricity subsidy, suggesting the migration to what he called cost-reflective tariffs.

He appealed to the Federal Government that once there is a subsidy promise, it has to be fully funded, saying that if the government is not ready to fund subsidies, it is better to migrate to a fully cost-reflective tariff as the liquidity is a major issue in the sector leading to huge debts being owed power generating companies.

When the gas suppliers are not paid, he explained that they would be unwilling to supply regular gas to them.

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“So why are these debts piling up? Part of the debts are owed by the DisCos. The Federal Government is also owing a huge portion of these debts, which relates to the unfunded portion of the subsidy,” Adelabu stated.

He promised that efforts were on top gear to make power available to Nigerians, especially through reliable energy sources.

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