The Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, has said obsolete and weak equipment are the major problem affecting electricity transmission and distribution in the country.

Aliyu told the House of Representatives on Thursday that the drawdown on the N160bn bilateral loans secured for power projects across Nigeria had been deferred to 2022.

The House Committee on Power decried the low performance of the N176.721bn appropriated for capital projects in the sector, out of which only N43.240bn had so far been released, while N32.518bn had been spent.

While responding to questions from the lawmakers on the hostilities between the Transmission Company of Nigeria, generation and distribution companies, the minister said, “The power sector is mostly privatised. Some of the responsibilities are outsourced.

“Our partners are at the generation and distribution levels, and the government is handling the transmission. And for it to work effectively, all of them must be up and doing. As it is now, we have serious challenges here and there along this value chain.

“Apart from the three major players, we have an interface, because the generators need fuel, either from a natural source, which is the hydro, which contributes about 20 per cent of the generation, or gas to fuel their plants. So, this is another challenge. And you know how gas is in the international market.”

Aliyu added, “Another interface is also between the generation and transmission, then, transmission to distribution. Now, the installed generation capacity, as you all are aware, is up to 13,000 megawatts. But it has to reach the customers before it becomes useful.

“So, what is going on is that the transmission, due to lack of attention to it for a very long time – not now, has culminated in the situation we are having on transmission, whereby they have to deal with obsolete and weak equipment, which need to be replaced. Some that are replaced need back-up in case there is a trouble that can be tackled immediately.”

According to the minister, the distribution network is also facing the same problem.

“So, these two – the distribution and the transmission – are what we have been trying so hard to upgrade to ensure that we raise their operational capacities to a level whereby they will be able to evacuate what we have in the generation. There are various interventions going on,” he said.

Aliyu said a total sum of N301.258bn was proposed for the ministry and parastatals in the power sector for the 2022 fiscal year, adding that machinery had been put in place to ensure efficient implementation of the 2022 budget.

He said a national programme had been launched to provide an alternative power supply for strategic Federal Government buildings and military formations, using renewable energy, particularly solar photovoltaic.