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Power supply drops to 2,665MW due to rxplosions, gas constraint

By on March 1, 2016

Inadequate supply of gas to the power station and explosions at transmission lines in the Lagos area and Jebba have resulted in a drop in electricity generation to 2,665MW, THISDAY has learnt.

THISDAY gathered that with this development, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has directed the 11 distribution companies (Discos) nationwide “not to pick loads to avoid a system collapse”.

Data obtained from a source at TCN on the “Daily Load Analysis and Day Ahead Consumption” for yesterday showed that between 1 am and 6 am on Saturday, generation fell to 2,500MW.

However, between 6 am and 11.59 pm, the hourly dispatch to the Discos rose to 2,721.20MW, thus averaging 2,665.90MW for the whole day.

The chief executive of one of the Discos, who did not want to be named, told THISDAY yesterday that with the abysmally low level of generation, TCN directed the Discos not to pick loads to forestall a system collapse.

“When generation is very low like this, TCN tries to stabilise it and the only way to stabilise it is to balance the load. Right now, we can’t pick any load, otherwise there will be a system collapse,” he said.

TCN had at the beginning of this month announced for the first time that the country generated about 5,074.7MW of electricity.

The attainment of the new record peak generation as well as the highest maximum daily energy of 109,372 megawatts hour (MWH) was recorded on February 2, 2016.

Before this, the previous peak generation was put at 4,883.9MW attained on November 23, 2015, and the previous highest maximum daily energy wheeled out nationwide was 107,142.32MWH recorded on January 26, 2016.

It was however gathered that supply, which later averaged above 4,600MW, has deteriorated in recent weeks due to transmission and gas supply issues.

At the recent second sectoral meeting held in Lagos between the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, and all the operators in the power and gas sectors, TCN had identified 51 transmission issues for resolution in areas like Alaoji, Sokoto, Ahoada, Damaturu, Gbarain, Calabar, Afikpo, Nsukka, Okigwe, Ihiala, Ayede, Ikeja, Ajah, Lekki, Kebbi, Jos, Kaduna, Kano, Makurdi, Kainji, Kafanchan, Otukpo, Hadejia, Wudil, Kumbotso, Bauchi, Gombe, Katsina, Daura, Abuja and Maiduguri.

A source at the National Control Centre (NCC) in Osogbo, Osun State, who spoke to THISDAY yesterday on the condition of anonymity, blamed the poor supply situation on inadequate gas supply to the generation companies and explosions that occurred on the transmission lines in the Lagos and Jebba areas.

He further disclosed that while over 1,500MW was lost in the last three weeks to inadequate gas supply, over 150MW was lost to the collapse of the transmission infrastructure.

“I can confirm to you that power has dropped due to gas constraints and explosions in Lagos and Jebba. One of the transmission towers in Lagos is down and another one is down in Jebba but TCN is working on them,” he said.

The Head of Corporate Communications at Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Mr. Godwin Idemudia, also confirmed at the weekend that “the current power rationing and intermittent outages being experienced in areas under the company’s coverage in the last few weeks was partly due to inadequate bulk electricity load allocation to the company from the national grid”.

According to him, power instability arose from a drop in national generation as a result of the incessant acts of vandalism on gas pipelines and transmission towers.

Idemudia added that the situation was not limited to Eko Disco’s coverage areas alone, adding that since the problem had to do with low generation, all parts of the country were affected.

Idemudia said the situation has led to acute power rationing in all areas within the company’s operational territory, stressing that the areas worst hit include Surulere, Lekki, Ajah, Ibeju, Mushin, Apapa, Yaba and their environs.

“Eko Electricity Distribution Company appeals to all its customers to please bear with the situation, as the company is doing all within its power to ensure fair and equitable distribution of available power to all customers pending improvement in power generation,” Idemudia added.

THISDAY gathered that Eko Disco, which normally gets between 350MW and 400MW daily, got a little over 200MW daily from the grid at the weekend.

Under the terms of the privatisation agreement between the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and private operators who took over the power assets, electricity generated from national grid is supposed to be shared among the 11 Discos at agreed ratios.

While Eko is allocated 11 per cent, Ikeja gets 15 per cent, Ibadan, 13 per cent; Kano, eight per cent, Abuja 11.5 per cent, Port Harcourt, 6.5 per cent, Enugu, nine per cent, Benin, nine per cent, Kaduna, eight per cent, Jos, 5.5 per cent, and Yola 3.5 per cent.

With the significant drop in supply, some of the Discos now concentrate on channelling supply to mainly high demand (HD) commercial customers whose tariffs are very high.