Nigeria Loses 4,379MW To Distribution, Gas Constraints

Nigeria Loses 4,379MW To Distribution, Gas Constraints

By Cyril Ogar

Distribution constraints and inadequate gas supply have cost Nigeria a whopping 4,379 megawatts (MW) capacity of electricity last Saturday.

Data obtained from the Independent System Operator (ISO), a business unit of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) shows 16 of the Generation Companies (GenCos) had more than one of their turbines turned down as the Distribution Companies  (DisCos) could not pick 2,551MW of electricity, causing frequency variation on the grid.

The drop in load demand from the DisCos hugely affected Shiroro hydro GenCo which had to cut down 365MW: Geregu Gas had three turbines turned down and stopped the generation of 345MW, and Azura Edo lost 311MW occasioned by frequency management issue.

The less affected GenCos were Omoku which only lost 20MW; Trans-Amadi which lost 28MW; and Geregu NIPP that lost 31MW.

The other affected plants lost a combined 1,590MW generated power. They are Okpai, Delta GenCo, Olorunsogo NIPP, Omotosho NIPP, Egbin, Jebba hydro, Ihvbor NIPP, Sapele NIPP, and Gbarain NIPP.

In all, the 16 affected power plants had 35 turbines turned down to forestall high frequency that could cause system collapse.

The gas supply to GenCos’ constraint affected nine power plants where 1,826MW of electricity could not be generated because of gas shortage.

Only Rivers Independent Power Plant (IPP) partly generated 25MW and lost 135MM of its full blast capacity. The other eight plants could not fire 17 turbines as there was no gas fuel.

The highest loser was Afam VI in Rivers State as its three turbines had no gas to generate 490MW as on Friday.

The next was Alaoji NIPP in Abia State. Its two turbines lacked gas to generate 240MW. Similarly, Olorunsogo NIPP in Ogun State could not fire two turbines that could have generated 240MW; Odukpani NIPP in Cross River had no gas in two turbines and lost 230MW.

The least affected plants were Omotosho Gas in Ondo State which three turbines ran out of gas to generate 114MW, and three turbines at Olorunsogo Gas that had no fuel to generate 114MW electricity.

There was no record of line constraint last Friday. Line constraint occurs when the transmission lines managed by TCN fail to carry generated power to the DisCos.

There was also no record of water management issue across any of the three hydro GenCos, which occurs when water at either the River Niger or Shiroro river is not enough to fire all turbines of the GenCos.

Meanwhile, electricity consumers have thrown their weight behind the recent directive issued by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, to the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) to ensure the Distribution Companies (DisCos) improved their services.

Daily Trust reports that investors in the DisCos recently said that shortfall of about N1.3 trillion in the electricity market was hindering them from performing their metering and network improvement obligations and sought to meet with the minister.

However in their separate reactions last weekend, some consumer groups backed the minister’s declaration as they urged the DisCos to focus on service delivery adding that the minister’s directive was a patriotic act.

National President for the Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA), Comrade Princewill Okorie, in a statement yesterday said, “We are totally in support of the policy focus of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing as presented by the Minister, Mr. Babatunde Fashola. This is because the minister by his directive has demonstrated that he is not biased in favour of DisCos, consumers or GenCos.

“When tariff was increased in favour of DisCos, the minister defended the DisCos and assured consumers that quality service was going to improve since the tariff increase which was expected to enable DisCos to have more money to inject into the system,” Okorie said.

The association said the directive should be adhered to by the DisCos to address the major complaints of electricity consumers. APPA listed the consumer challenges to include estimated billing, corruption, erosion of confidence due to lack of accountability and transparency occasioned by non-availability of meters to consumers.

“The DisCos have always argued that tariff paid by consumers are not adequate to enable them to cover cost, but they fail to disclose how much money,” the statement noted.

The Network for Electricity Consumers Advocacy of Nigeria (NECAN) in a separate statement issued by its chairman, Chief Tomi Akingbogun, also backed Fashola’s call for improved services.

He said some DisCos did selective energy supply to areas where they would make more money adding, “Yet the masses are placed on estimated billing. How do we account for income from estimated billings? We have had cases of DisCos’ computers having arithmetic errors.”

NECAN also said the power firms have failed to meter all customers even when the present tariff includes cost of metering.

On his part, the president, Network for Consumer Protection, Barrister Kunle Olubiyo, called for a holistic approach to the issues of poor services raised by the minister.

He urged NERC to convene a roundtable of the investors, government officials and other stakeholders to review the power sector privatization.

“The regulatory agency should also be allowed to do its job and if there are gaps in the regulatory and institutional framework, then we can make amends to strengthen NERC,” Olubiyo stated.

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