Egbin power threatens shutdown over TCN, gas, N100bn debt

*Egbin Thermal Power Plant.

*Nationwide blackout imminent

Kunle Kalejaye

29 March 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — There are indications that Nigeria will be thrown into darkness next week as the management of Egbin Power Plant have threatened to shut down operations due to non-settlement of N100billion debt, inadequate gas supply and operation inefficiency of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN.

Mr. Dallas Peavey, the Managing Director, Egbin Power Plc made the disclosure during an interactive session with energy correspondents in Lagos.

“The country is heading towards another blackout by next week as liquidity, transmission and gas supply issues threatened our operations,” he said.

Peavey said that the plant is being forced to gradually shut down due to the adverse effect of grid instability that endangers its turbines.

He said that other challenges include inadequate gas supply to generate at optimal capacity as well as the huge debts owed the company by Federal Government own Nigerian Bulk Electricity Traders (NBET) and Market Operators.

The Egbin boss said that the effect of the debt has become worse for the company owing to the fact that it is owed N110billion.

“We owe gas companies and others like our technical partners (KEPCO) to pay, and importantly our lenders, the banks. We have made massive investments in making the plant readily available to generate sustainable electricity but unfortunately, we can’t break even due to the gross inefficiency in the value chain.

“Government guarantees to pay us for every megawatt we generate and sell to NBET but they have not done that. We just got paid for the month of December 2016, three months later we were only paid a partly 28 percent out of the total 100 percent of the verified and accepted an invoice for that month.

“That is how the outstanding debts kept accumulating for three and half years now.

Asked what will be the effect, if the debt is not paid, he said: “eventually the unbearable business operating circumstances and conditions will shut us down any moment if it persists. That is the simple but bitter truth.”

On transmission, Peavey, said the company had reached 1,100 MW while the installed capacity is 1, 320 MW, adding that the grid could not take the power because of the capacity issues within the TCN system.

“We are constrained and limited to generate about 350MW daily due to both TCN system operations and inadequate gas supply issues.

“So, 70 percent of our output is lost because available power can’t be evacuated. When you get good news from TCN that you can increase your generation, we will be faced with not “enough gas” and when there is gas, you have TCN issues. So, you have one, you don’t have the other.

“Let me be honest, if Egbin fails, it’s going to be dark as Egbin provides close to 30 per cent of Nigeria’s power, so let the required intervention be completed and urgently too, however, the Egbin turbines are ready to light up Nigeria.”

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