Power Sector Loses N36bn To Gas Shortage

In less than three weeks, Nigeria’s power sector lost over N36bn, primarily as a result of gas shortage caused by the recent bombing of pipelines supplying gas to electricity generation plants.

Specifically, between May 27 and June 13, 2016 (18 days), the country’s power sector lost an average of N2bn daily as a result of different challenges, with gas accounting for over 85 per cent of the total constraints.

The electricity supply statistics for Nigeria was last updated on June 13, 2016, as of Friday morning when our correspondent checked.

This is coming as the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has pleaded with various militant groups in the Niger Delta to find another way to ventilate their anger, stressing that the destruction of gas pipelines is counter-productive to Nigeria.

Industry figures obtained from the power ministry as well as other agencies in Abuja showed that the quantum of electricity lost as a result of gas constraint was between 3,483 megawatts and 4,031MW during the captured duration.

The highest single loss in one day, within the period of review, was 4,031MW and this was recorded on June 7, 2016.

The severe power loss due to gas constraint warranted a plunge in the amount of average energy sent out to power consumers within the review period, as figures showed that this was between 2,077MWh/h and 2,774MWh/h.

Further findings showed that the two other challenges that also contributed to daily power losses, though marginal, were line and water management constraints, as both accounted for less than 15 per cent of the total constraints.

For instance, on May 27, 2016, the quantum of power lost due line constraint was put at 95MW; water constraint was 465MW; while gas constraint was tremendous, at 3,849MW.

On the estimated amount in naira that was lost daily by the sector, figures from the government showed that on average, the country lost N2bn. The highest loss of N2.341bn was recorded on June 7, 2016, which was the day the country also recorded the biggest electricity plunge as a result of gas challenges.

The least financial loss of N1.904bn was recorded on May 28, 2016 and the average quantum energy sent out to power users on this day was put at 2,461MWh/h, while power lost due to gas on the same day was 3,748MW.

Calling on militants and pipeline vandals to desist from destroying power installations as well as oil and gas facilities, particularly in the Niger Delta, Fashola said that public assets must be protected by members of the public.

The minister, who spoke as a key guest speaker at a recent function in Abuja, said, “We must culturally educate ourselves that anything that is a public utility is a matter of public ownership. And it must be protected and anybody who tampers with it tampers with all of us. And so, no matter how angry you are, you should find another way to ventilate your anger.”

On measures aimed at breaking up the country’s large dependence on power generation from gas-fired plants, Fashola said the government had started working on hydro power plants, adding that in future, it would be impossible to hold Nigeria to ransom as a result of vandalism of gas pipelines.

He said, “We have seen from events that started around February 14 this year, repeated acts of vandalism of our gas pipelines that render us clearly vulnerable to one source of fuel for our energy development. That has challenged us to develop options and alternatives like solar in particular, and of course, hydro power plants in more quantitative response. So, we will be accelerating work on projects like Gurara Hydro Power Plant – phases 1 and 2, work has started on Zungeru Hydro Power Plant.

“We will also be accelerating work on Mambila Power Plant, which will give us the biggest single electrification source over a period of seven years that it is estimated to have it concluded. So, for us, this is a journey of diversification, a journey of electricity security for Nigeria and it is a journey that will ensure that in future it will be impossible to hold this country to ransom by controlling any particular source of fuel for electricity.”

Similarly, the Executive Director, Association of Nigeria Electricity Distributors, the umbrella body for electricity distribution companies, Mr. Sunday Oduntan, told our correspondent that the vandalism of gas pipelines had largely dragged down the power allocation to Discos, a development that had reduced the amount of electricity supplied to consumers across the country.

“It is a cycle, when they bomb gas pipelines, the power generators won’t have enough gas to fire their gas turbines in order to generate electricity, which they allocate to Discos. This, of course, will be felt by consumers as power supply to them will be affected,” he said.

#Punch

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