23 May 2015, Abuja – The Nigerian government on Friday warned that the power situation in the country could get worse if the labour unions’ strike is not called off.
Addressing state House Correspondents after briefing Vice President Namadi Sambo on the power situation in the country, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali said the achievements recorded in the power sector are being eroded by the combined effects of vandalism and strikes.
According to him, “Prior to the current constraints we have been encountering we have generated between 4,800 megawatts at the beginning of the year with a potential to get up to 6,000 megawatts based on the available gas and hydros. Besides, pipeline vandalization which has continued to have very negative impact on the power supply situation in the country, the on-going strike by labour unions in the oil and gas sector has added additional toll.
The current strike by both senior and junior staff unions of the NNPC, (NUPENG and PENGASSIN) has led to further reduction of the amount of gas available to most of our power plants especially in the western axis.
“As at 12.00 noon Friday, 22nd May, 2015, UTOROGU, CHEVRON ORE DO, OB EN gas plants are all shut down while UGHELL and CNL ESCRAVOS are all isolated already. On the eastern axis Shell Gas, ALAKIRI has also been shut down. This has led to the several power plants being stranded and shut down. These include EGBIN, OLORUNSHOGO I & 11, OMOTOSHO 1& 11, GEREGU I & 11, IHONVOR and SAPELE (NIPP) on the western axis and ALAOJI on the eastern end.
“The overall effect is that power supply which had started picking up steadily since the beginning of the week, following repairs of various vandalized portions of the ELP Line and the Trans-Forcados Gas Pipelines has fallen to all-time-unprecedented low of 1,327mw as at 1.00 p.m. on Friday, 22nd May, 2015. This situation could get worse if the strike action continues.
“The Federal Ministry of Power hopes, that the on-going discussion between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and, the Labour Unions, will end amicably and soonest to spare the country from such a major disruption of essential service. Indeed it is hoped the Labour Unions would help restore supply of gas to the power plants even while negotiations are on-going” he said.
*Ben Agande – Vanguard