Electricity supply in Nigeria still poor despite repair of Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System
- By Anayo Ezugwu
DESPITE the confirmation by the ministry of power that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has repaired the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System, ELPS, and resumed gas supply to power stations, electricity generation remains at 3,600 megawatts as at Wednesday, January 10.
Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, said repair work on the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline, which was razed by fire on January 2, had been completed with the resumption of gas supply to customers. He noted that in the first few days of the New Year, the power sector suffered a setback, which was caused by damage to the gas supply network around Okada in Edo State.
“I am happy to inform Nigerians that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, informed us that repairs had been completed. What remains is to test the lines and restore pressure and supply to the generation companies,” he said.
At the 23rd power sector monthly meeting in Lafia, Nasarawa State, Fashola said power generation and transmission capacities were now about 7,000MW, while distribution was around 5,000MW. He stated that the operators in the sector were able to increase power generation and supply in the last three months despite the dry season period as opposed to previous situations.
The development, he said, was due to improvements in gas supply to power generation companies, noting that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission was working on a regulation that would further enhance power supply.
“In the last three months, we have increased the supply of power in the dry weather and people’s experience with power was better. The cynics who used to say that it is only during the rains that power improves now see that what we have done is no fluke.
“We are also putting together a policy position to help expand the distribution network of the Discos and use this to distribute the 2,000MW that is currently available but cannot be distributed. I also use the opportunity to call out to manufacturers to let us know where they are, how much power they need, and how we can connect them because we have 2,000MW of undistributed power,” he said.
But information from the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN website, contradicts the position of the minister. Before the fire incident on January 2, average generation was put at 4,300MW on the previous day by the TCN with 4,685.3MW as peak generation and 3,667.5MW as the lowest electricity generated. This performance was above the average of 3,610MW recorded Wednesday, January 10, despite the restoration of gas supply to the power stations.
The spotlight on grid operations showed that on Wednesday, peak generation was put at 3,929.7MW, while the lowest generation was 173MW. According to the operational report, a total of 3,227.90MW was sent to the grid. With the poor performance of the grid, electricity supply has remained epileptic across the country.
The Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System fire incident affected gas supply to customers in Ondo, Ogun and Lagos states, with subsequent shutdown of a number of power plants. With the restoration of the ELP and resumption of gas supply, the affected power plants, with a combined generating capacity of 1,143 megawatts, will resume power generation.
The power plants include Egbin in Lagos; Olorunshogo, PEL Olorunshogo and Paras in Ogun; and Omotosho in Ondo.
The 36-inch Escravos to Lagos pipeline system was built in 1989 to supply gas from Escravos in the Niger Delta to various consumption utilisation areas. It supplies gas to power plants in the South-West and also feeds the West African Gas Pipeline System.
– Jan. 12, 2018 @ 10:25 GMT /