The Federal Government said on Thursday that electricity generation from the Afam Power Station in Oyigbo, Rivers State, would increase to 340 megawatts by December from the current 100MW.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, explained that with measures put in place to fix faulty turbines and get gas companies to provide gas to the turbines, it would not be difficult to achieve an increase in megawatts that would be added to the national grid.
Fashola, who spoke during his visit to Afam Power Plc in Oyigbo Local Government, Rivers State, stated that gas companies stopped supplying gas to power stations as a result of a N701bn debt.
He explained that with the payment assurance programme put in place by the President Muhammadun Buhari-led administration, every gas that would be supplied to the Afam station would be paid for.
The minister stated, “This is the famous Afam station built in 1962. It has grown from a very small power station to a big power station. It started out with only 20 megawatts when it began and it has grown to 1,000 megawatts. We have Afam 1 to 5. With almost 1,000 megawatts installed, we are only able to produce 100 megawatts.
“This is as a result of failure to maintain it over the years, and I think all of the maintenance work stopped. Even Afam 5 that was built in 2001, as you heard from the legislators, after four or five years, lack of maintenance crippled it.
“Before the Buhari government came, there had been a lot of debt owed gas companies. The gas companies are saying if you don’t pay, no fuel; and you know that gas is our fuel. We also approved a powered payment assurance programme in March. It is N701bn.”
He added, “We are telling Shell now to let us separate the previous debt and create a programme to deal with it under the Central Bank of Nigeria programme. Now that there is a payment assurance programme, we want to assure them that every gas that will be supplied to this facility will be paid for.
“We have already paid for power produced in January and got approval to pay for power in February, all targeted to add another 100 megawatts to the grid. We are projecting that as soon as we sought out the gas and other issues before our December deadline, we will have 340 megawatts.”