15 January 2014, Lagos – As the federal government celebrates the completion of new power generating plants under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) and the recent privatisation of the assets of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), which are all expected to improve power supply, generation has continued to drop due to inadequate gas supply to fire the gas-powered plants, THISDAY has learnt.
Generation, which exceeded 4,500MW in December 2012, has fallen below 3,500MW in recent days as gas supply remains inadequate to fire the turbines.
Investigations revealed that though the generating stations are ready to add available capacity of over 6,100MW to the national grid, gas supply can barely sustain 3,500MW.
A source at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), who confirmed the gas supply challenges, told THISDAY yesterday that the power plants worst affected were those receiving gas supply from the Escravos-Warri-Lagos Gas Pipeline System, which has been the target of vandals and protesting communities.
He said the operation of the pipeline and the Escravos tank farm, as well as the Abiteye flow station has been targeted several times by the Gbaramatu and Ugborode communities in Warri South-west Local Government Area of Delta State, which have been agitating for a better deal from both NNPC and Chevron Nigeria Limited.
According to him, the newly completed first phase of the Escravos-Warri-Lagos pipeline, which was destroyed in 2013, is still undergoing a test run, adding that unless this is completed, gas supply to the line would remain inadequate.
The Warri-Escravos gas pipeline was said to have been hit with dynamite by vandals in at least 20 different spots.
Some of the affected power plants worst hit by shortage of gas supply include the 434MW Geregu 1 Power Station in Kogi State, which generates less than half of installed capacity and the Geregu NIPP plant, which operates at the same installed capacity but no gas to fire the turbines.
Others include Delta Power Station, Sapele NIPP, Olorunsogo I and II in Ogun State, and Omotosho I and II in Ondo State.
THISDAY also gathered that the 1,320MW Egbin power station in Lagos as well as the nearby 230MW AES plant, which usually add over 1,000MW to the national grid when gas is available were generating only an estimated 700MW Tuesday.
Some of the chief executive officers of the recently privatised power stations told THISDAY that there was shortage of gas to fire the turbines.
“Gas is not enough to take the load. That is the summary of the problem. The gas being produced is not enough to ride all the machines available,” said one of the CEOs.
Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, had recently pointed accusing fingers at persons who do not want the power sector reforms to succeed.
He said they had continued to sabotage facilities in the sector, adding that sabotage was responsible for the 22 per cent drop in power supply.
– This Day