FG, WAPP construct power line to Benin Republic
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola
The Federal Government and the West African Power Pool have commenced the process for the construction of a second 330 kilovolt transmission line that will further boost electricity supply to the Republic of Benin.
Nigeria supplies electricity to the Community Electric du Benin, the power firm of the Republic of Benin, and the neighbouring country is owing Nigeria several billions of naira as electricity debt.
The new 330KV transmission line being constructed by the Federal Government through the Transmission Company of Nigeria and the WAPP will be ready for use by 2021.
The interim Managing Director, TCN, and Chairman of WAPP, Usman Mohammed, announced the commencement of the process for the construction of the power line during the project’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment study in Abuja on Friday.
“The second 330KV Ikeja West transmission line to Sakete in Benin Republic is necessary as the first could soon be constrained by the demand for more power from the Nigerian grid increase,” he said.
Mohammed also told participants at the event that Nigeria’s transmission infrastructure was no longer the weakest link in the power sector value chain going by the latest expansion drive at the TCN.
“The TCN is no longer the weakest link in the power value chain as it is fast-tracking the implementation of many power projects. The transmission, rehabilitation and expansion programme seeks to expand the grid to about 20,000 megawatts in the next three years,” he said.
Mohammed added that the TCN had embarked on a nationwide installation of transmission transformers, noting that three of the power equipment were installed in Lagos last week, two scheduled for the North, while another three would be installed in the Port Harcourt region soon.
He said the WAPP project was supported by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and the African Development Bank, adding that the ESIA study would be conducted in six months, after which the construction would take another 24 months and should be ready by 2021.
The Permanent Secretary in the power arm of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Louis Edozien, urged the Community Electric du Benin to immediately settle its accumulated electricity debt.
“The electricity that we have already supplied is not paid for. I use this platform to emphasise to the CEB that the debt that has accumulated needs to be settled quickly. It helps us explain to Nigerians why we should expand the supply by doing this kind of project. A mechanism must be in place to make sure the debt does not balloon again,” he stated.
Expressing support for the project and Nigeria’s ability to deliver, Edozien said power generation companies could now supply up to 7,000MW of electricity, but noted that the distribution companies could only distribute about 4,600MW.
The Director-General, CEB, Dr. Karimou Sika, appreciated the Nigerian government and the WAPP for the project and stated that it would provide an opportunity to sustain the Republic of Benin power system and ensure adequate supply of electricity to his country.
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