Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
Despite getting 66.53 per cent of the total amount of domestic gas supply for one year, Nigeria’s electricity generation has remained low.
Figures obtained on Friday (5.21pm) by our correspondent from the country’s power System Operator indicated that electricity generation had dropped further to 2,035.20MW.
This showed a drop of about 800MW from 2,841.9MW, which was given as of 12.42pm on Thursday by the SO.
Ironically, the latest data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation showed that the percentage allocation of gas to power plants in Nigeria from February 2015 to the end of January this year was far higher than what was allocated to manufacturing sector.
The report stated that although the power plants received close to 70 per cent of the total domestic gas allocation, power generation in Nigeria had continued to hover around 3,000 megawatts to 3,500 megawatts. The Federal Government had early last year set a 2015 target of at least 6,000MW.
Although there had been series of complaints of gas pipelines rupturing by vandals, the latest figures from the NNPC’s group financial report showed specifically that gas-fired power plants got an average of 701.84 million standard cubic feet of gas per day or 66.53 per cent from February 2015 to January 2016, as against the 353.06mmscfd or 33.47 per cent gas that was supplied to industries.
The NNPC said, “From the 1,134.41mmscfd of gas supplied to the domestic market in January 2016, about 733.5mmscfd of gas representing 64.66 per cent was used for gas-fired power plants while the balance of 400.9mmscfd or 35.34 per cent was supplied to other industries.
“Similarly, for the period of February 2015 to January 2016, an average of 1,054.90mscfd of gas was supplied to the domestic market comprising an average of 701.84mmscfd or (66.53per cent) as gas supply to the power plants and 353.06mmscfd or (33.47 per cent) as gas supply to industries.”
The corporation added that “a total of 734mmscfd was delivered to the gas fired power plants in the month of January 2016 to generate an average power of about 3,237MW compared with February 2015 to January 2016 average gas supply 699mmscfd and power generation of 2,990MW.”
Operators in the power sector as well their counterparts in the oil and gas industry on several occasions had blamed the poor performance of power firms on the recurrent rupturing of pipelines supplying gas to the plants.
Even as they admitted that gas supply to power had been high when compared with what industries got, they maintained that until the trend of vandalism in the power and oil/gas sectors reduced considerably or stopped, the issue of low electricity generation might persist.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had during the first stakeholders meeting involving operators in the power and oil/gas sectors, said that he would ensure that there was adequate gas supply for electricity generation, but frowned at the level of pipeline vandalism.
Similarly, the Executive Director, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, Mr. Sunday Oduntan, told our correspondent that the low electricity generation was not entirely the fault of power firms.
He noted, for instance, that the fall in electricity generation earlier in March this year was as a result of the industrial action by workers in the transmission arm of the power sector.
Oduntan said, “The recent fall in power generation to 2,800MW happened when workers were picketing Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company and the union mandated the transmission persnnel in Osogbo to go on strike.
“After they embarked on strike, there was nobody to wheel the energy from generation to distribution companies. And this led to high temperature in the generation companies and they were forced to shut down. That’s what happened during that period early this month.”
On allegations that power distribution companies were compounding the sufferings of electricity consumers by not accepting the load allocated to them, Oduntan said such scenarios had stopped since last year.
He noted that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission had penalised the companies that were involved to ensure that it did not reoccur.
Oduntan said, “If your allocation is 20 per cent and maybe allocation to Kano is five per cent, but it could not wheel the amount to Kano and decided to give the Kano Disco maybe three per cent. That means there is extra two per cent, and it now wants to give this amount to you.
“Now, if you take it, that is fine. You will pay for the energy. But in addition to that, it will penalise you and you will pay the internal penalty. This scenario happened sometime last year, around the middle and late 2015. As a result, NERC called for a meeting on the issue and withdrew that practice. So, it has stopped since then and even now, we have very low generation, less than the wheeling load.”
Source : Gist Arena