18 June 2018

Nigeria: Shutdown of 6 Thermal Stations Hampers Power Generation

For the second time this month, the power generation in the country at the weekend suffered another setback, following the shut down of six thermal power-generating stations.

Consequently, power supply nosedived to 2,903.7 Mega Watts (MW), shedding over 1,087.6MW from a peak generation of 3,992.6MW reported by Nigerian Electricity System Operator (NESO) the previous day.

Confirming this, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) said there has been a drop in the electricity generated into the national grid by a total of 1,087.6MW of Power.

A statement by TCN's General Manager, Public Affairs, Mrs Ndidi Mbah, noted that the drop in electricity generated into the national grid resulted in load shedding nationwide.

Noting that the load shedding was necessary to maintain stability of the grid, TCN added that gas pipeline rupture on June 15 and technical issues at the Shell gas wells occasioned the sharp drop of power generated on June 16.

It explained that six thermal power-generating stations are currently unable to generate electricity and have therefore been shut down due to the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) pipeline incident.

The company listed the affected power stations to include Ihovbor, Azura, Omotosho gas, Geregu gas, Olorunsogo gas, Sapele and the Egbin power stations.

TCN said the six power generating thermal stations had managed to generate 60MW only on each of its units, losing a total of 211MW.

The company also said Afam VI power station was shut down so that Shell Oil Company could resolve its gas well issues to enable it commence gas supply to Afam VI power station.

The statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday noted: "With a total loss of 1,087.6MW into the grid, the transmission system has become quite fragile and TCN is working hard to avert a collapse of the system, by engaging in load-shedding.

"Load-shedding is to ensure that available generation is commensurate with what is allocated to DisCos nationwide, to create a balance and avert grid instability".

The TCN spokesperson also said NGC is making efforts to ensure that the gas pipeline issues are resolved to restore normal gas supply to affected power generating stations so that they can generate into the grid.

The company also hinted that Shell had in the morning hours of yesterday resolved its gas well issue and gas supply partially restored to Afam VI power station.

TCN also noted that there was no collapse of the grid as was reported in some quarters.

The company appealed for understanding, adding that TCN engineers are working hard to maintain stability of the grid, pending completion of repairs of gas pipeline by NGC and restoration of full gas supply to affected generating stations.

The latest development is coming on the heels of a reported total grid collapsed recorded on June 8, bringing the number of total collapses recorded so far this year to seven.

Data obtained from NESO shows that as a result of the grid collapse, total electricity generation plunged to 2,202.40MW as of 6:00am on June 9, down from 3,669.20MW on June 8.

15 out of the nation's 27 power plants were not generating any Mega Watts as of 6:00am on June 9, as the collapse led to the shutdown of five additional plants, including Egbin in Lagos.

The other affected plants were Sapele I, Geregu I, Sapele II and Alaoji, joining Afam IV & V, Geregu II, Olorunsogo II, Odukpani II, Gbarain, AES, ASCO, Omoku, Trans-Amadi and Rivers on the list of idle plants.

Meanwhile, many parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had been out of supply during the weekend.

Head of Corporate Communication, AMr Fadipe Oyebode, attributed the non-supply and load shedding in some areas to the limited allocation from the national grid to AEDC.

Oyebode said AEDC was only allocated 194.58MW from the grid on June 16, out of its total 11 per cent allocation; hence its inability to fully supply to its customers.

He, however, noted that the situation has improved as AEDC's allocation for June 17, stood at 330.44MW.

SERAP Seeks Probe Of Power Projects

Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), before a Federal High Court in Lagos seeking leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus directing the minister to provide details of government spending on power.

The civil society organisation is specifically seeking an order compelling Fashola to make public details of the privatization of the electricity sector, the names of all the companies and individuals involved as well as the publishing of such information widely, including on a dedicated website.

SERAP said it instituted the suit over the "failure of the Minster to account for the spending on the privatisation of the electricity sector and the exact amount of post-privatisation spending on generation companies (GENCOS), distribution companies (DISCOS) and Transmission Company of Nigeria to date, and to explain if such spending came from budgetary allocations or other sources."

The organisation had, in a Freedom of Information request dated 7 May 2018, gave Fashola 14 days to provide, "information on the status of implementation of the 25-year national energy development plan, and whether the Code of Ethics of the privatization process which bars staff of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and members of the National Council on Privatization (NCP) from buying shares in companies being privatized were deliberately flouted."

SERAP is praying the court for a declaration that the failure of the Respondent to furnish the Applicant with information requested is unlawful, as it contradicts and is in conflict with the obligations of the Respondent under the Freedom of Information Act 2011.

"A declaration that the failure of the Respondent to clarify to the Applicant the degree of compliance with the Code of Ethics of the privatization process which bars staff of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and members of the National Council on Privatization (NCP) from buying shares in companies being privatized is unlawful as it contradicts and in conflict with the obligations of the Respondent under the Freedom of Information Act 2011", it added.

In the suit filed by its counsel, Ms Bamisope Adeyanju, SERAP contended: "Publishing the information requested and making it widely available to the public would serve the public interest and provide insights relevant to the public debate on the ongoing efforts to prevent and combat a culture of mismanagement of public funds, corruption and impunity of perpetrators.

"Most of the companies that won the bids had no prior experience in the power sector and little or no capacity at all to manage the sector. The privatization of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) has yielded the country total darkness. The gains of privatization have been lost through alleged corruption, manipulation of rules and disregard to extant laws and lack of transparency in the exercise.

"To further highlight the seriousness of the situation, several years after the country's power sector was privatized, millions of Nigerian households particularly the socially and economically vulnerable sectors of the population continue to complain about outrageous bills for electricity not consumed, and poor power supply from distribution firms. Millions of Nigerians continue to be exploited through the use of patently illegal estimated billing by DISCOs. One wonders the essence of the privatization if there has been no corresponding improvement in power for Nigerians.

"Enforcing the right to truth would allow Nigerians to gain access to information essential to the fight against corruption and provide a form of reparation to victims of grand corruption in the power sector. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in its General Comment 3 has implied that privatization process should not be detrimental to the effective realization of all human rights, including access to regular electricity supply.

"SERAP has the right to request the information under contention on the basis of several provisions of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011. By Section (1) of the FoI Act, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on post-privatization spending by the Federal Government and accounts of spending on the private entities such as GENCOS and DISCOS."

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