From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja

The Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) has revealed that it may be forced to write off over N200 billion owed to it by electricity operators. This is due to the fact that as Nigerian Bulk Electricity Traders (NBET) pays the operators, the debt continues to accumulate.

NDPHC’s Managing Director, Mr. Chiedu Ugbo, disclosed this during an oversight visit by the House of Representatives Committee on Power to major power plants in the country. He attributed the potential write-off to the company’s financial limitations, which prevented it from undertaking two capital-intensive projects simultaneously.

“Right now, we are being owed close to N200 billion forever because as NBET is paying, it is accumulating more,” Ugbo stated.

However, Ugbo assured the lawmakers that the Gbarain Power Plant would be operational soon. He explained that cash flow constraints were the primary reason for the delay in the resuscitation of the burnt Power Control Module (PCM).

Ugbo further elaborated that upon assuming his role in 2016, the Gbarain Power Plant was still under construction. He described the challenges faced, including a burnt temporary PCM and a critical pipeline erosion issue.

“We had to put a unit to the grid, and unfortunately, the temporary power control module put in place got burnt,” Ugbo explained. “But at the time it happened, we had a more pressing threat to the community, which was the line pipe laid before 2015 that was being washed away by River Nun.”

Related News

He continued, “It got to a point when the pipeline was dangling on top of the river, and no responsible management would ignore such a tremendous threat to the host community. We shut down the plant and made sure we fixed that pipeline by doing a horizontal direction by burying it many metres away. We couldn’t take the two capital-intensive projects together because of our financial limitations. Right now, we are being owed close to N200 billion forever because as NBET is paying, it is accumulating more.”

Ugbo assured the committee that the pipeline project was complete, and the community was now safe. He emphasised that the company is now focused on addressing the PCM issues.

“We have informed the original equipment manufacturer, Scheider, and we have done the procurement,” Ugbo said. “But to fast-track the resuscitation of Gbarain, we are moving one from one of our sites and replacing it with the one that will be purchased.”

He confirmed that all engineering and gas assets are well preserved, and the plant is well maintained. He clarified that the resolution from the House of Representatives coincided with the company’s existing plans to fix the problem.

When asked about the date for fixing the PCM, Ugbo acknowledged the difficulty in providing a specific timeframe due to the engineering nature of the issue.

“This was the first site I visited after I resumed as Managing Director,” Ugbo concluded. “There was a procurement for reinforcement of the 1.5-kilometre gas pipeline from the Shell facility to this place. It was on the bank of River Nun.”