14 April 2015, Lagos – Power supply from the national grid again slumped below the 3,000-megawatts mark to 2,988.72MW on Sunday on the back of gas shortfall and lower water supply to the nation’s thermal and hydropower plants respectively, our correspondent learnt on Monday.
Gas-fired power plants generate about 70 per cent of the nation’s electricity, while the balance is derived from hydro power plants, including the Kainji and Jebba power stations, which have a combined installed capacity of 1,330MW.
The downturn in power generation has exacerbated outages and load-shedding being experienced in many parts of the country, and reversed the recent slight improvement seen after supply fell to 2,767.45MW exactly one month ago.
Electricity supply fell to 2,988.72MW on April 12, while 3,060.37MW was generated that day, according to data obtained from the Federal Ministry of Power on Monday.
Power generation had on March 11 dropped to 2,747.45MW, while 2,676.64MW was sent out to consumers, down from 3,505MW on March 8.
Power generation and supply in the country have dipped below the 3,000MW mark for at least five times this year.
On February 10, electricity supply plunged to 2,869.84MW as 2,936.83MW was generated that day, according to the Presidential Task Force on Power.
On January 11, 2015, generation fell to 2,502.39MW, while 2,449.04MW was sent out. Generation fell to 2,948.45MW on January 6, while 2,880.31MW was sent out to the distribution companies.
The downturn in power generation has often been attributed to the sabotage of the Trans-Forcados Pipeline, which supplies gas to several power plants in the country.
The Special Adviser on Gas to the Minister of Power, Mr. Frank Edozie, said in a telephone interview with our correspondent that the Trans-Forcados Pipeline had been vandalised, and that this led to the shortage in gas supply to the power plants.
“There are problems with gas supply and the hydropower plants are not getting enough water supply,” he said, adding that the problem with the gas pipeline would be resolved this week.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ikeja Electric, one of the distribution companies in Lagos, Mr. Abiodun Ajifowobaje, in an exclusive interview with our correspondent on Friday, said the average energy from the grid to the firm dropped to about 370MW last month, adding that one of the two greatest challenges facing the distributing firms today was inadequate power supply from the grid.
“In the case of power supply, if I want to give all my customers 24/7 power supply today, I need 1,250MW, but the average I am getting from the grid is about 370MW to 400MW; less than a third of what I need.”
He said the firm had been looking for ways of getting power from other sources like embedded generation.
“There are some people that have captive power that will sell the excess to us. We are doing all that in Ikeja; Eko and other Discos are doing the same because we don’t know when we will get enough gas to get adequate power from the grid. We don’t know when transmission, which is another problem, will improve.
So, we are not in this business to say we are not going to power the consumers,” Ajifowobaje said.
Aside from gas shortage as a result of pipeline vandalism, Ajifowobaje said, “This is the time we have low water for the hydro power stations. So, with the gas not getting to the thermal power plants and the water at the dams at the lowest level, this is the worst period for power to come from the grid.”