07 April 2014, Yenagoa – Bayelsa State Government on Monday said ongoing repairs of the Kolo Creek Turbine were responsible for the energy crisis in the state especially in some local government areas.
The government convened a press conference in Yenagoa where it clarified some issues following insinuations that the administration was deliberately denying some areas electricity.
Some areas in Nembe, Southern Ijaw and Ogbia which depend on the turbine for electricity, including Otuoke, the community of President Goodluck Jonathan, have been in darkness for some months.
But the Commissioner for Energy, Francis Ikio; Special Adviser on Energy, Olic Kemenanabo and the Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, took turns to reel out facts behind the crisis.
Ikio said the faulty component of the turbine known as Gas Generator has been undergoing repairs in Vancouver, Canada.
Explaining that the component was being repaired by its original manufacturers, Ikio hinged the delay in delivering the equipment on technical reasons.
Reading from a volume of progress report on the equipment sent to the state by the company, the commissioner said the faulty equipment would be ready for test-running in May 26, 2014.
He assured the people of the state of the government’s commitment to their welfare insisting that the administration would not play politics with the development of the state.
Sympathizing with areas heavily affected by the crisis, he described persons accusing the government of deliberately punishing and marginalising some communities as mischief makers.
He recalled series of times the component was refurbished in the past and said the current repairs would turn the gas generator to a new one.
“This government is serious and focused. There is no marginalization or intention to punish anybody. We know the importance of power and we cannot afford to play politics with it”, he said.
Kemenanabo who provided further insight into the problem, said the administration inherited a moribund turbine.
According to him the present government took over the turbine at a time it could only generate six megawatts of electricity instead of its 20 megawatt capacity.
Describing the gas generator as the engine of the gas turbine, he said the equipment was first repaired in 1999 after its original installation in 1985,
He said after the repairs, the gas generator began to function as a new one and lasted till 2006.
But he recalled that it was sent to another vendor, Alba Power, for repaiforgot the second time instead of the original manufacturers.
He said: “The second case was when it was sent out for repairs but not to the original manufacturers. It was through a vendor whose name is Alba Power. It repaired and returned it. From the date of commissioning, it was obvious that there were many cracks on the machine.
“This same machine ran only about two and half years and it was already collapsing before this administration came on board. When the government came into power, the government in his wisdom established a committee to appraise existing and new proposals for gas turbine.
“We thought it wise to carry the gas generator back to the original manufacturers. That generator was sent out at about December 20, 2013. From that day there was no space to move it into the repair shop of the company in Canada. The machine was conducted into the shop in January 19, 2014″.
On why the government decided to refurbish old turbine instead of considering proposals for new ones, he said it was foolhardy to discard a turbine because of a faulty component.
– The Nation