•Accomplishment underscored by failed targets
Chuks Isiwu & Kunle Kalejaye
13 September 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Ahead the Federal Government’s pledge of steady power supply across the country next month, electricity industry players say gas supply to the thermal power generating stations has improved.
This, they said, has also led to increased power generation and a marginal increase in power supply to distribution companies, which has, in turn, brought about a slight improvement in power supply to consumers.
The development is, however, coming amid a litany of failed targets in the power value chain and caution by stakeholders against rising expectations due to the fact that factors that could still frustrate gas supply still exist.
Both the power generating companies or Gencos and the distribution companies or Discos sampled by SweetcrudeReports alluded to the improved gas supply and increase in power generation and supply, but, did not avail us of necessary figures to back up their claims.
The Group Executive Director in charge of gas development at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. David Ige, told SweetcrudeReports earlier this year that gas supply to power stations had increased to about 1 billion standard cubic feet per day from an earlier figure of less than 600 million standard cubic feet. But, an official at one of the power firms, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said the current level of gas supply might have surpassed that level.
Also, checks by SweetcrudeReports with the Ministry of Power revealed that peak power generation currently stands at 4,068.7 megawatts, Mw. At the consumer end, supply has only improved marginally, with a cross section of Nigerians saying in separate interviews they were anxiously awaiting the new Federal Government target of October for achieving steady power supply.
Confirming the increase in gas supply to the generating plants as well as increase in power generation in the country, Managing Director, Egbin Power Station, Engr. Mike Uzoigwe, said in a telephone interview: “Gas supply has increased, and as long as there is an increase in gas supply, there will be an increase in power generation and supply”.
Uzoigwe did not provide statistics on the previous or current levels of gas supply to the power plants, but, revealed that it was mainly due to the improved gas supply that national power generation had climbed to over 4,000mw.
When contacted by SweetcrudeReports, Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, also confirmed that more gas is now being supplied to the power plants.
A source in one of the distribution companies in Lagos, said, “generation has improved, that’s why distribution has improved too”.
General Manager, Public Affairs, at the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Mrs. Seun Olagunju, who admitted to increased power supply in the country, also attributed this to improved gas supply to the thermal power generation plants.
Besides gas supply, one other factor that has played a major role in improved power generation in the country is the completion and delivery of some National Integrated Power Projects, NIPPs.
Currently, six of the 10 power stations under the first phase of the NIPP were completed and have been churning out over 2,000mw supplied to the national grid.
Mr. Yakubu Lawal, General Manager, Communications and Public Affairs at the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, NDPHC – in charge of the execution of the NIPPs – revealed that the remaining four located in Alaoji, Aba, Abia State; Gbarain, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State; Omuku, Rivers State and Egbema, Imo State were at various stages of completion.
The 10 power plants, including the ones yet to be completed are up for privatisation and Lawal said the share purchase agreements on the plants were being finalised with the new investors.
But even at that, the plants were scheduled to have been completed last year and their non-completion on schedule has been robbing Nigeria of their overall 4,774mw capacity.