Electricity: N20bn debt, forex scarcity threaten Kainji, Jebba operations
The accumulation of unpaid invoices for Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited (MESL), the concessionaire of the Kainji and Jebba Hydro plants and acute foreign exchange scarcity are affecting the company’s ability to effectively sustain its operation, the chairman of the company, retired Col. Sani Bello, has said.
Speaking yesterday at the inauguration of the sevenmember Charity Foundation of the company in Abuja, Bello also said the difficulties associated with obtaining forex to import critical spare parts, had reduced their ability to increase the generation capacity of the company.
The country now heavily relies on the hydro power stations with the drop in electricity generation from the gas-powered stations mostly in the Niger Delta region. At the moment the two hydro plants are generating about 900mw, close to 40 percent of the total power generation of the country.
Kainji and Jebba have installed capacities of 760mw and 578.4 mw respectively. The two power plants were handed over to MESL on November 1, 2013 as part of the federal government’s power privatisation programme.
Col Bello said beside the debt, there was a delay in payment of the power generated since March this year from the regulatory authorities and the Distribution companies.
“The CBN interventions to the sector could not have come at a better period without which, our plants would have been forced to shut down operations,” the chairman said.
He appealed to the ministry of power, Bureau of Public Enterprises, the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader and the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission to ensure that the debt burden borne by the gencos did not cripple them.
He said there were plans for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to invest in the company but that the unpaid bills had caused the deal to foot-drag.
The managing director of the company, Engr. Lamu Audu, said they recognised the need to work closely and impact on the lives of the host communities in the areas of education, the environment and other social issues such as water and sanitation, job creation, security, electrification. AERO
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