Electricity Supply Plunges In Nigeria As 13 Power Plants Lose 3,124 Megawatts To Gas Shortage

While the nation’s power generation has slightly improved in recent days, no fewer than half of its plants are still facing gas shortage.

Increasing gas constraints largely occasioned by recent attacks on pipelines in the Niger Delta have left over 3,000 megawatts of the nation’s power generation capacity idle.

The nation generates the bulk of its electricity from gas-fired power plants, while output from hydro-power plants makes up about 30 per cent of total generation.

As a result of the gas constraints, the unutilised electricity generation capacity in the country stood at 3,124MW as of January 1, 2017, according to industry data obtained by our correspondent on Wednesday.

The report listed plants affected by the gas shortage as Alaoji II, Geregu II, Omotosho II, Olorunsogo II, Odukpani II, and Ihovbor II, all of which were built under the National Integrated Power Project scheme.

Others were Omotosho I, Olorunsogo II, Ibom Power, Egbin, Delta, Rivers IPP, and Trans Amadi.

The nation’s power grid collapsed 29 times last year, the highest since 2011, as the quantum of spinning reserve aimed at forestalling such occurrence remained low.

The development was exacerbated by the upsurge in militant attacks on oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta, which affected gas-fired power plants.

Twenty-three total collapses and six partial collapses were recorded in March, April, May, June, July, September, October, November and December.

The last total system collapse recorded last year was on December 10, the second that month.

In June 2016, the grid recorded five total collapses and three partial collapses, the highest last year. Seven collapses – six were total and one partial – occurred in May.

Three total collapses occurred in April last year, while two total collapses and one partial collapse were recorded in March 2016. A total of three collapses were recorded in July, September and October.

In the whole of 2014 and 2015, the grid collapsed 13 and 10 times, respectively, with four partial collapses each.

The total national power generation stood at 3,491.9MW as of 6am on December 1, down from the peak of 5,074.7MW on February 2, 2016.

Seven of the nation’s 26 power plants did not generate any megawatts of electricity on Sunday. They were Olorunsogo II, Ibom Power, Afam IV & V, Trans-Amadi, AES, ASCO, and Rivers IPP.

Generation from Egbin, the nation’s biggest power station located in Lagos, stood at 186MW on Sunday, down from 1,085MW on March 15, 2016.

Out of the six power stations meant to provide spinning reserves, only one had actual reserve of 40MW as of 6am on December 1, the data showed.

The power stations are Egbin, Kainji, Delta, Olorunsogo II, Geregu II, and Omotosho II, with combined reserve capacity of 195MW.

Spinning reserve is the generation capacity that is online but unloaded and can respond within 10 minutes to compensate for generation or transmission outages.

The reserve capacity and actual reserve of Egbin and Kainji stood at zero as of Friday, while those of Delta were 80MW and zero, respectively.

Olorunsogo II and Geregu II had reserve capacities of 40MW and 35MW, respectively while their actual reserves stood at zero.

The actual reserve at Omotosho II stood at 40MW out of a reserve capacity of 40MW, the data showed.

The Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Dr. Atiku Abubakar, said that the issue of gas constraints had worsened power supply in the country.

He said, “Principally, that (gas shortage) is what is drawing us back. If you recall in February, we reached 5,074 megawatts, which was the highest ever generated in Nigeria.

“We are hopeful that the situation will improve and we will get improvement in generation. Once we are generating anything below 3,000MW, nobody can guarantee the grid stability. That is, system collapse is bound to happen.”

He decried the lack of adequate spinning reserve to forestall system collapse

“Sometimes we have 15MW, 20MW and 36MW as spinning reserve. So, if you lose 300MW, what can that do in order to quickly rise up and protect the system; you will lose the system. So, that is the issue. But we are trying as much as possible to avoid system collapse.”

For most part of last year, power generation in the country hovered between 2,000MW and 3,000MW due largely to recent upsurge in militant attacks on oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta, the source of fuel for about 70 per cent of the nation’s power plants.

On February 2, last year, the nation had achieved its peak generation of 5,074.70 MW. But the attendant improvement in supply was short-lived as generation dropped below the 4,000MW mark later that month. It plunged to a low of 1,400MW on May 17, the TCN stated. -PUNCH

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