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Power sector records four system collapses in 4 weeks …electricity generation drops to 3,167MW

By The Citizen
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The nation's power sector is apparently characterised with numerous challenges that have continued to halt power evacuation and supply to the yearning consumers. Indeed, the transmission grid has recorded no fewer than four system collapses in four weeks.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has however blamed the low generation on shortage of gas supply to the thermal plants.

A document obtained from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) showed that the national grid experienced total outage on March 31, April 9, April 23, and April 25 simultaneously.

The lowest in the record was on April 23 when it generated a paltry 25.2Mega Watts (MW) of electricity, having fell from 2,749MW generated the previous day.

As at yesterday, electricity generation dropped to 3,167 MW from 3,351MW on Monday, a far cry from the 12,800MW peak demand estimated by the Federal Ministry of Power.

Meanwhile, Eko Electricity Distribution Company has announced that beginning from Tuesday, the 3rd of May, there will be power rationing in Lekki, Ikoyi, Victoria Island and some parts of Ajah, all in Lagos Island.

The General Manager, Corporate Communications of the company, Godwin Idemudia, said in a statement that the power rationing is to enable the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to upgrade both Line 1 and Line 2 of Ajah-Alagbon transmission line from 132kv to 330kv.

According to him, during the upgrade operation which will last between three and four weeks, the Lekki Transmission injection sub-station from which most of the areas to be affected by the power rationing are fed would be completely shut down.

Idemudia however said that to ensure that the areas are not completely out of supply for the duration of the upgrade operation, alternative power supply arrangement would be made through back-feeding operation to the areas from Alagbon Transmission injection sub-station via Ijora.

While appealing to customers to show understanding and bear with the situation during the period of the facility upgrade exercise, he further stated that all efforts would be made to ensure equitable distribution of available power to all customers.

He assured customers that by the time the upgrade work is completed, it will result in tremendous improvement in power supply to all customers in the area.

Already, scores of electricity consumers are presently groaning under incessant outages, as they continued to lament high electricity tariff that does not commensurate with supply.

A community leader in Sango, Ogun State, Mrs Olushola Agbedeyi said the power supply in the area is worrisome and tantamount to waste of resources as they continued to pay for facility not enjoyed.

In Mushin, a consumer and entrepreneur, Isa Alausa said the poor power supply has grounded business activities in the area, with more businesses relying on independent power generators.With the lingering fuel scarcity, he said the situation is becoming worse as black markets indiscriminately shoot up the cost of production.

He therefore appealed to the Federal Government to urgently find lasting solution to the power supply crisis in the country.Fashola had explained that the country suffered a terrible power outage in the month of March and April due to low gas supply to the power plants.The minister explained that out of the 78 gas turbines in the country, only 50 were working due to shortage of gas to power the facility.

According to him, 'The power being generated comes from about 78 out of 140 turbines and they are largely fired by gas. Now the power has gone down because we have gas outage in one of the gas pipelines.

'We have an installed capacity of 12,000 Mega Watts (MW). We have about 140 turbines installed. But the available capacity today is about 8,000MW both installed and available and this simply means that some turbines are down, some projects haven't been fully completed,' he said.

General Manager (Public Affairs), TCN, Seun Olagunju, said the partial collapse of the system on April 23 was specifically caused by a sudden loss of 200MW of generation due to technical reasons.

She therefore linked others to shortage of gas supply.Olagunju added that the problem was quickly resolved by the company's engineers, and immediately restored full power transmission to the grid.

'It would be recalled that low generation has been experienced in the country for the last few weeks sequel to gas inadequacy to the thermal power plants, following the vandalism of gas pipelines,' she added.

According to the statement, 'The grid has since been restored and available generation is being evacuated from all running power plants and transmitted by TCN to the networks of the Discos for onward delivery to the customers'.

She further reiterated its commitment to continually work at improving power transmission service in the sector. Although, there were insinuations that the frequent system collapse may not be unconnected with the recent rift between the workers and the management of the Ministry of Power.

Olagunju said the lockdown of the TCN headquarters in Abuja, does not affect technical operations as TCN staff in its regional offices nationwide, who are responsible for the actual wheeling of bulk electricity, are at their duty posts, ensuring that electricity generated by power generating stations is seamlessly transmitted to distribution load centres nationwide. – Guardian.