Faced with militants’ near-unrestrained successes in blowing up gas facilities in the Niger Delta, the Federal Government’s plan to add another 2000 megawatts (MW) by July may not be realised.
The Guardian learnt that militants have destroyed 23 gas pipelines across the Niger Delta states since they renewed attacks on national assets from February 14 to date.
Indeed, the shortage of gas supply to about 25 thermal stations in the country has critically impacted on power generation levels and further crippled power supply to consumers.
The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN)’s power generation statistics obtained by The Guardian yesterday showed that the nation is now generating about 2, 903MW, a far cry from about 140,000MW generation requirement estimated by the distribution companies (Discos).
To solve the gas-to-power problems, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is currently working on a new gas scheme that is expected to deliver about 70 per cent of the feedstock required by power plants across the country.
Already, the corporation said a total of 855 million standard cubic feet (mmsfcd) of gas would be added to the domestic gas supply following the completion and commissioning of four projects by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and International Oil Companies (IOCs).
However, the Executive Director of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Oduntan, told The Guardian yesterday that concerns are high that the spate of attacks by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) may jeopardise the plan which is expected to deliver about 2000MW by next month.
The 11 Discos across the country are already lamenting the poor power generation as it affects delivery and revenue generation on their part.
The Discos further linked frequent outages to the low allocation of energy from the national grid, while they continue to pursue their various embedded and captive power plants scattered across the nation.
Frequent system collapses in the sector are another source of worry for the stakeholders, as statistics show that the national grid has recorded about eight power collapses in the last one month. These occurred on 15th, 18th, 19th and 29th of May; and 1st, 2nd, 8th and 1th of June .
Oduntan who also confirmed the severe impact of the low generation status on their operations said the operators were working round the clock to move the sector forward.
He said: “The continued militancy is having a very devastating effect on all the Discos. But it is beyond us, there is nothing we can do about it, other than to pray that the militants will see reason and put national interest first.”
Oduntan said the Discos were worried that the activities of the NDA have halted the plans by the NNPC to make more gas available to the power stations, adding that the supply programme put in place by the corporation would have added another 2000MW to the national grid by next month.
“We have got everything ready in the area of generation, transmission and distribution, but it is very unfortunate the way things are going now, the July target may be a mirage,” he said.
However, he was optimistic that the Federal Government’s effort to develop the hydro power stations (Kanji, Jebba and Shiroro) would buoy power generation in the country, if it has enough political will to pursue the goal.
Also, the Head of Corporate Communications, Ikeja Electric, Felix Ofulue, said the outages experienced by consumers recently were beyond the control of the Discos, because they bordered on an issue of low energy supply from the national grid.
He said: “It is just one of the challenges that we face. It is a transmission issue, something that we cannot control. We can only manage our own problem, but when it comes to system collapse, we cannot control it.
“There is also apathy from the customers who believe that it is the Discos’ responsibilities. But the issue is that we cannot give what we don’t have.
Indeed, it has impacted negatively on the revenue of Discos.”
Stakeholders at the sixth edition of the meeting with power sector operators in Kano agreed to persuade oil and gas producers to explore better ways to boost oil production by using water instead of gas, in order to increase the amount of gas available for domestic consumption.
The meeting also recognised the need for the Discos to reinvigorate their efforts to replace obsolete transformers and deploy new ones as necessary even as they agreed to discharge their responsibility to provide transformers where required so that communities are not required to provide them at their own expense in order to get services they are prepared to pay for.
Commenting on safety issues in the sector, Ofulue, in another statement cautioned people against conducting commercial activities under power lines, warning of the imminent danger associated with sustained activities underneath cables that may be under stress from strong winds and rains.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday resolved to probe Manitoba Hydro international Nigeria Limited for alleged corrupt practices in its management of the TCN.
At the plenary presided over by Mr. Yakubu Dogara, the House directed its committees on power and public procurement to probe into the issue and report back to the House within one month.
Deputy chairman of the House committee on media and public relations, Mr. Jonathan Gbefwi who moved the motion observed that while the consideration of the management contract includes emoluments for 15 expatriates, only eight expatriates are working at the TCN.
He also alleged that the management company unlawfully revalidated a 2010 contract and awarded it to ABB India without due process, in flagrant violation of the public Procurement Act 2007.
He remarked that despite the harsh economic situation in the country, the managing director of TCN draws a monthly salary of N35, 500, 000 while other expatriates earn monthly incomes of N20,509, 000 and N19,100, 000 .