The current epileptic supply of electricity being experienced across many parts of the country is as a result of the massive drop in generated power by 1,000 megawatts in the last one week, the Federal Government has said.
Figures released by the Federal Ministry of Power showed that the country’s peak generation as of October 15, 2014 was 3,513.5MW, against a peak demand of 12,800MW.
It, therefore, means that the country is currently generating about 2,500MW.
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, in particular recently charged the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, to urgently address the epileptic power supply in the entire Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja and its environs.
Nebo gave the marching order when he paid an unscheduled visit to AEDC Headquarters in Abuja.
He noted that the erratic supply of power in and around Abuja, especially in key government establishments is slowing down the pace of work, which is greatly impeding the performance of government programmes and activities.
Responding, the Managing Director, AEDC, Mr. Neil Croucher, called for a political decision in the quantum of power supply to the FCT. According to him, the amount of power supplied to Abuja has drastically reduced thereby necessitating the rationing of power in such a way as to satisfy all its customers.
He said the issues raised by the Minister are of great concern to the company, adding that prompt response will be given to ensure that load shedding is prioritised for optimum results.
The poor electricity supply across the country has also led the Federal Government to unfold plans for a national roadmap on access to power that will define the strategy, identify the requirements, and begin the process of providing energy to the corridors of Nigeria without access with an energy source that best fits their requirements and geographical setting.
The Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo stated this Monday, in Abuja during the meeting of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Presidential Expert Group on developing an infrastructural ranking and scorecard roadmap for Nigeria.
In his address, the Minister of Power identified transmission as the major weak link in power generation in the country saying the transmission network is too weak to carry generated power. He admitted that improving electricity transmission has not been easy even under Manitoba’s leadership.
To bring the transmission network up to the expected capacity, Nebo said a minimum investment of $1 billion a year over the next few years to meet current demands and position itself towards global competiveness.
And to bridge the financial gap, the Minister stated that government is considering several options at wooing private sector participation and investment in transmission with the option of recouping investments through wheeling charges.
He also blamed the inadequate generation of power on shortage of gas, saying many of the power plants built to provide power are only able to utilize a fraction of their installed capacity. Of the original six power plants that were privatized, there is none that is functioning up to seventy percent of installed capacity.
Nebo also explained that two major gas plants are currently severely affected by gas supply and this had warranted the fall in electricity generation.
He said, “Recently within the past week, the Okoloma gas plant has been down due to sabotage, blowing up and vandalism of three of its wellheads, and then robbing Shell of the capacity to deliver over 180mscuf of gas on a daily basis. When you translate this, you are talking of over 720MW of power that is stalled for the past several days.
“So, that really caused our power generation transmission and distribution to dwindle. And the NPDC is also having challenges because of old gas generating plants that quite often the components are either due for repair or for maintenance. And some of these parts are not readily available but these things need to be changed.
“That has also knocked off nearly 80mscuf of gas. When you add this to what we have lost in Shell, you will see why we have dropped 1,000MW in the past several days. That will show you what gas can do and our continued dependence on gas as our major source of energy to our power plants is really a national security issue.”
Nebo said it had come to the notice of the Federal Government that some electricity distribution companies were rejecting the power being sold to them.
He gave an assurance that the government would not hesitate to penalise culpable power firms and stated that his ministry was working out ways of ensuring that non-defaulters in the payment of electricity bill did not suffer with those who failed to pay their bills.
Sources: The Punch, The Guardian, Vanguard