Low water levels, plant maintenance reduce power supply

by | July 1, 2014 12:20 am



Nigerians are likely to experience further power outages as water levels at the country’s three hydro power plants (Shiroro, Kainji and Jebba) ebb significantly.

The total power generated as at last Sunday was 2,887.8 megawatts (MW) at off-peak (lowest generation), while at the peak periods (highest generation) it was 3,350.1 MW.

But David Ige, group executive director, gas and power, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said the supply situation might improve soon, as maintenance work on the Utorogu gas plant was completed last Friday.

Ige told BusinessDay that experts were test-running to establish that the plant was sound, following which gas would be pumped to the power plants.

“We are ramping up. This is going to take time, and in a couple of days we would attain full capacity. But certainly we are expecting significantly improved gas supply very soon,” he said.

The seasonal rise in water levels expected to drive the turbines at the hydro power plants at this time of the year has not come. As such, the nation is relying on the thermal plants, which are themselves handicapped by inadequate gas supply, owing to on-going maintenance work at the Utorogu gas plant.

Power-chart

The ‘black floods’ which come from the Futa-Jallon Islands in Guinea and flow into Nigeria’s Kainji Dam around this time of the year, are also yet come.

Authorities at the Kainji power plant have therefore seized the opportunity of the lateness of the floods to shut down the plant for maintenance work.  

Meanwhile, the Jebba power plant was only able to push out 240 MW last Sunday. The Shiroro plant generated about 237 MW initially, but it came down to zero before the end of that day, which was its off peak, informed sources told BusinessDay.

A breakdown of the performance of the power plants last Sunday showed generation was low. Kainji generated 0 MW, Jebba 240 MW, Egbin 498 MW, Sapele 72 MW, Delta 385 MW, Afam 1-4-0 MW, Geregu Gas 100 MW, Omotosho 91.4 MW, while Olorunsogo generated 98.9 MW.

Power-Generation

In the case of the power plants under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), their generation levels did not bring much cheer either. For instance, Geregu power plant generated 83 MW, Sapele 115 MW, Alaoji 0 MW, Omotosho 72 MW, Olorunsogo 109 MW, Ihuobor 109.9 MW, Okpai 428 MW, Afam VI 457 MW, Ibom power 0 MW, Omoku 0 MW, AES 27 MW, Trans Amadi 0 MW, while River IPP at its peak period generated 130 MW but dropped to zero later.

Owing to low levels of generation from the power plant, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) has in the last 10 days consistently received 280 MW on the average.

“It was so bad that we had to ration the supply to some places,” said Abiodun Ajifowobaje, managing director, IKEDC.

“The situation is so terrible that our business plans have been adversely affected because of lack of supply from the generating plants,” he said. 

Supply in Lagos generally has been bad, despite that the city enjoys some priority when it comes to power supply in the country.

Meanwhile, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has said the power generation and distribution companies should be blamed for worsening electricity supply in the country, saying it currently had capacity to evacuate more than 4,000 MW.

TCN said the current power supply problem was caused by the inability of the generation companies to generate enough power as well as the terrible cobweb of distribution networks which have remained a challenge for the distribution companies.

Dipak Sarma, executive director, system operations, TCN, said all the power made available for the company to transport to Discos was promptly dispatched, adding that the current poor power supply was not as a result of transmission problems.

Sarma further said the total national power generation capacity at 6 am last Sunday was 2,960 MW, which was promptly transported to the Discos.

“It is because TCN is a government company, that is why the Gencos and Discos are always trying to blame it, but the truth of the matter is that these two sections of the power industry are the problems,” he said.

Olusola Bello