The Transmission Company of Nigeria has admitted that power generation in the country dropped from 3,463 megawatts in March 20 to 2500 megawatts four days later
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Apr. 7, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT
ELECTRICITY supply in Nigeria has dropped drastically in the last two weeks as a result of gas supply constraints. The Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, attributed the problem to the drop in power generation by more than 963 megawatts. The implication is that electricity generation, which was put at 3,463.40MW as of March 20, has dropped to 2,500MW. Ibrahim Waziri, board chairman, TCN, on Monday, March 24, on the sidelines of the investors’ conference organised by the firm in Abuja, said the worsening state of power supply in the last two weeks was as a result of the series of incidents that had bedevilled the sector lately.
“Gas supply has dropped significantly in the last two weeks. That has resulted in reduced generation to about 2,500 megawatts, MW, as of this (Monday) morning; we are back to square one. But we are addressing all these issues. Then, of course, we had accidents along the Benin-Sapele road and a lot of transmission lines collapsed due to fire incidents. These affected a very small area in that locality in terms of giving them power. But like I said earlier, these issues are being addressed,” he said.
According to him, “What we are looking at in our template is $1.5bn per annum for the next five, six years.”
Also, Mack Kast, managing director of TCN, said although the company had garnered some funds from the federal government and donor agencies, more was still needed to effectively boost transmission. “What we are asking for over the five-year period is in the neighbourhood of $7.7bn and we believe that we can reach our goal. We already have some funding; we have the federal government funding, the secured debt and we have potential proceeds from the sale of the NIPP assets, but that isn’t enough,” he said.
This must have prompted Chinedu Nebo, minister of power at the conference, to state that the federal government was in bilateral and multilateral relationships with the governments of other countries for the importation and exportation of electricity. Nebo, who was represented by Mohammed Wakili, minister of state for power, told the investors that the country needed about $8bn to boost its power transmission infrastructure in the next five years. He said the federal government had signed a memorandum of understating with the Democratic Republic of Congo to supply electricity to Nigeria.
“The government of Nigeria is in bilateral and multilateral relationships at various stages of advancement with other governments for the importation and exportation of power. For example, Nigeria has signed a MoU with the Democratic Republic of Congo for the importation of electricity from the Inga Dam Power Plant for both local consumption and export to other countries. The Inga is envisaged to exceed 40,000 megawatts on full exploitation. The TCN network spreads to all parts of the country and across the borders to some neighbouring countries to form part of the West African Power Pool. With the realisation of Inga and other initiatives, Nigeria will become a regional hub in international electricity trade, exporting large swathes of internally generated as well as imported power to the WAPP countries,” he said.
According to Nebo, the measures would greatly ramp up the total generation on the TCN grid, necessitating the massive and rapid expansion of the transmission and other infrastructure. “It is projected that the TCN requires $8bn in the next five years to prosecute its capacity expansion programme. We hereby invite all and sundry to partake in this investment bonanza. Government has established various mechanisms to safeguard and protect your investments in the TCN and elsewhere in the Nigerian electricity supply industry. The electricity supply industry has undergone radical changes. Traditionally, the ESI involved itself with the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power, usually by vertically integrated utilities. Today, we have trading in electricity with well-developed spot futures market in some places.”
But these lofty plans could be derailed if the organised labour in the nation’s electricity sector carry out their threat to embark on industrial action. The union has given the federal government until March 26, to pay workers of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, their terminal benefits and other benefits to avoid industrial action. Investigations revealed that the technical committee jointly set up by the government and labour to monitor the level of payment of the benefits had long concluded its tour of the country and allegedly discovered that the claim of payment by officials of government was only done on papers. Joe Ajaero, secretary general of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, said the union would give the government up till Wednesday, March 26, before deciding what to do.