Power supply situation in Nigeria worsens as the country is losing 2000 megawatts due to shortage of gas
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Jun 8, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
NIGERIA has lost more than 2,000 megawatts in the national grid due to shortage of gas supply to the thermal plants. The federal government in a statement signed by Sam Amadi, chairman, and National electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, and published on its website on Sunday, explained that only five out of 23 power plants are currently generating electricity.
Amadi said the commission noticed with concern the acute shortage of power supply and the attendant hardship Nigerians were passing through. “In the last couple of months, electricity supply has been generally poor on account of increase in vandalism in the run up to the April 2015 elections. But this bad supply condition has worsened in the last few days. At present, 18 out of the 23 power plants in the country are unable to generate electricity due shortage of gas supply to the thermal plants with one of the hydro stations faced with water management issue. This has led to loss of over 2,000 megawatts in the national grid.
“This situation is further compounded by the recent industrial actions embarked upon by workers in the oil and gas industry, a development which is taking toll on other sectors of the economy. Gas supplies to the thermal plants have been further constrained by the industrial actions of workers in the oil and gas industry. The Commission had proactively engaged the gas supply companies and its licensees when two weeks ago discussion was held on how to firm up gas supply in order to increase power supply.
“Unfortunately, not much progress was made through this meeting as NNPC and its subsidiary Nigeria Gas Company, disclosed high incidence of vandalism in some areas that were relatively peaceful along its pipeline networks. That meeting was told of the damage done to Trans-Forcados pipeline in the western axis and Elps gas pipeline in the eastern axis. Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had explained at the meeting that repair works are being intensified even as it expressed worry on the integrity of the pipelines on account of incessant damage it has sustained.
“In essence, what has brought about this development is the increased incidence of vandalism which is beyond the control of the regulator and the industry operators. This situation is further compounded by the industry actions declared by the oil and gas workers. However, we have continued to engage with relevant authorities on how fast we can address shortage of gas supply to the thermal plants. We are also engaging with the industry operators on how to improve electricity supply. The commission regrets the hardships which Nigerians are being subjected to on account of this development as we intensify efforts to bring the situation under control in the shortest possible time,” he said.
Similarly, Chinedu Nebo, minister of power, said it had become necessary to draw the attention of Nigerians to the fact that the strike by both senior and junior staff unions of the NNPC had resulted in the shutdown of major gas plants, including Utorogu, Chevron Oredo and Oben in the western axis.
He said Ughelli and CNL Escravos were already isolated, adding that the shutdown of Shell Gas, Alakiri, on the eastern axis, had caused several power plants to become stranded. Other power plants that have been shut down, according to Nebo, include Egbin, Olorunshogo I and II, Geregu I and II, Ihonvor and Sapele NIPP plant on the eastern end.
The minister said the overall effect of the workers’ action was that power supply, which had started picking up at the beginning of last week following repairs of various vandalised portions of the Trans-Forcados pipeline, had fallen to an all-time unprecedented low, making life unbearable for Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the management of Ikeja Electric has raised the alarm over what it described as massive drop in power allocated to it from the national grid. The company, which also apologised to its customers over the state of power supply in the last few weeks, said as of Sunday, May 24, the allocation to it had dropped to zero megawatts. Abiodun Ajifowobaje, managing director, Ikeja Electric, in a statement on Monday, May 25, said the dismal power situation was a challenge across the nation.
He explained that the situation was particularly critical as allocation to Ikeja Electric from the national grid had fallen drastically. “As of yesterday (Sunday), allocation to Ikeja Electric had been zero megawatts as against 1,250MW required to satisfy our customers. The situation is quite challenging. However, we will do all that is humanly possible within the circumstances and assure all our customers that we will continue to ensure equitable distribution of power received within our network,” he said.
According to Ajifowobaje, the company had since placed its workers on stringent schedules to ensure that customer issues were promptly addressed via its contact centre and walk-in experience centres. “We, on behalf of our customers, plead with the government and all stakeholders to address all issues militating against the availability of power to save lives and boost economic prosperity in Nigeria. It is our hope that these issues are resolved so that we can continue to serve our customers without any inhibitions.”