Seventeen of the nation’s 27 power stations have been forced to shut down some of their units on the back of low demand by electricity distribution companies, worsening the blackout being experienced by millions of customers across the country.
Total power generation in the country dropped to 2,842.1 megawatts as of 6am on Thursday from 3,129.8MW on Wednesday, data obtained by our correspondent from the Nigeria Electricity System Operator showed.
The amount of electricity generated by the power stations stood at 2,896.5MW as of 6am on Tuesday, as 2,603.7MW could not be produced due to low load demand by Discos.
The nation’s three hydropower plants, namely Jebba, Shiroro and Kainji, saw their output decline by 285MW, 400MW and 22MW respectively to 148MW, 180MW and 198MW.
Three units at Jebba, 2G2, 2G4 and 2G5, and Shiroro’s 411G3 unit were shut down due to the Discos’ low demand.
The gas-fired power plants that suffered declines in their generation were Egbin (100MW), the nation’s biggest power station; Olorunsogo I (114MW), Geregu I (220MW); Omotosho I (76MW); Azura-Edo IPP (309MW), Okpai IPP (196MW), Afam VI IPP (400MW) and Rivers IPP (50MW).
Others were Odukpani NIPP (220MW); Delta (185MW); Afam IV & V (20MW); Geregu NIPP (65MW); Sapele (16MW) and Omotosho NIPP (35.7MW).
Geregu I, Delta, Azura-Edo IPP and Odukpani NIPP shut down one unit each while Odukpani NIPP and Afam VI shut down two units each.
Three of Olorunsogo’s units, namely GT1, GT3 and GT6, were out as a result of the low demand by Discos, the system operator’s data showed.
The nation generates most of its electricity from gas-fired power plants, while output from hydropower plants makes up about 30 per cent of the total.
The system operator put the nation’s installed generation capacity at 12,910.40MW; available capacity at 7,652.60MW; transmission wheeling capacity at 8,100MW; and the peak generation ever attained at 5,375MW.
The Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies, the umbrella body for the generation companies, Dr Joy Ogaji, recently lamented that the Gencos were losing money due to the idle generation capacity at their stations.
She said, “With a total available generation capacity of more than 7,500MW and maximum wheeling capacity of not more than 5,500MW, there will always be a recurring instance of about 2,000MW idle generation.
“Out of the meagre 5,500MW of transmission wheeling capacity, the Discos have not proven to be able to distribute more than 4,500MW continuously, leaving yet another 1,000MW of generation capacity unutilised.
“In total, due to the combined technical incapacitation of the Transmission Company of Nigeria and the Discos, the Gencos are unable to deploy a total of 3,000MW of capacity that would ensure sustainable and profitable operations.
“If one considers the fact that the Discos have in the recent past been operating around 3,500MW or below, this figure escalates to 4,000MW of idle capacity.”
Ogaji added that the Discos were also unable to account for up to 75 per cent of the electricity distributed to customers in terms of revenue remitted to the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc.
The government-owned NBET buys electricity in bulk from Gencos through Power Purchase Agreements and sells through vesting contracts to the distribution companies, which then supply it to the consumers.