Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has said the federal government had to concession Kainji Hydro Power plant for failing to generate its 760-installed capacity of electricity to the national grid. The concession was granted to Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited with an estimated cost of $418.5 million in February 2013 for a period of 30 years.
Director-General of the ICRC, Aminu Diko stated that the contract agreement allows Mainstream to operate, restore and maintain the power plant in such a way as to increase the available capacity of the plant.
Inspecting the hydro plant in Kainji, Niger State, Diko stressed the need for the concessionaires of the plant, to develop a work plan for their operations. He was accompanied on the tour of the Dam by staff of the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission as part of the ongoing monitoring and compliance inspection visits embarked upon by the Commission.
Claiming that the concessionaire was close to meeting their set target, Diko groaned that ”Power issue is very sensitive in this country and Kainji Hydro Power Plant is one of the oldest in the country, yet its supply has been epileptic.” The Chief Engineer, Kainji Hydro Power Plant, Jose Villegas said during the inspection tour, raising hope that the project would be able to generate 490 megawatts in May 2016. “In 2013 when we took over, the plant was only generating 101mw and only two of the eight installed turbines were working. In 2014 we were able to get three of the turbines working and were generating about 200mw, and in 2015 we had five functional turbines generating 440mw,” “But” he said, “we had a fire incident on the plant and two turbines had to be shut down for now. As at Feb. 2016, we were generating 390mw and we plan to increase generation to 490mw by May.”
Villegas had said that since the takeover, new air blast technology and computer based maintenance technology had been installed. He reportedly said that this was to ensure efficient management of the facility, and further said that there was need for general overhaul of the power plant to seal up leakages and repair the drainage systems. And that right now, the plant was not running at full economic capacity because initial plan of the plant showed available space for 12 turbines but only 8 was installed.