The highly pronounced power failures across the country in the past few days may worsen following a partial system collapse that occurred on Tuesday, and the continuous drop in electricity generation due to what the government says is the vandalism of pipelines that supply gas to the power plants.
As a result, power generation dropped to 1,580.6 megawatts on Wednesday.
Data from the Nigeria Electricity System Operator as well as information from senior officials of the different electricity distribution companies confirmed that power generation plummeted massively on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The officials noted that this resulted in the reduction of the electricity load allocated to the Discos, stressing that this was why many parts of the country had been recording blackouts in the past few days.
It was learnt that the partial system collapse that occurred on Tuesday happened at the Shiroro Power Plant and dragged down electricity generation to as low as 1,233.4MW from a peak of 3,207.7MW recorded on the same day.
Data from NESO showed that by 9.48am on Wednesday, power generation was 1,580.6MW, with the Ikeja Electric getting 237.09MW; Abuja, 181.77MW; Eko, 173.87MW; Benin, 142.25MW; and Enugu, 142.25MW.
Others are Ibadan, 205.48MW; Jos, 86.93MW; Kano, 126.45MW; Kaduna, 126.45MW; Port Harcourt, 102.74MW; and Yola, 55.32MW.
One of our correspondents gathered that prior to the partial collapse of the system, the Abuja, Ikeja and Eko distribution firms were getting over 350MW each to meet the power needs of a considerable number of their customers.
In fact, it was learnt that the normal baseline allocation for the Abuja Disco was 450MW, but on Wednesday, the firm got 181.77MW around 9.48am, according to data from NESO, and this further dropped to 131.77MW by 1.25pm.
On reason for the slump in electricity generation, officials at the power arm of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing told one of our correspondents that the same old issue of gas pipeline vandalism had continued to pose challenge to adequate electricity generation and distribution.
An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Gas is vital for power generation and most of the electricity being generated in Nigeria is produced by gas-fired power plants. Both the ministers of power and petroleum have often called on Nigerians to help safeguard these infrastructure, but we keep recording explosions of gas pipelines.
“Currently, repairs are ongoing on some of the ruptured pipelines and once they are completed, we believe generation will pick up again.”
Last week, the acting Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dr. Anthony Akah, lamented the incidences of vandalism that led to the reduction in peak power generation and supply from the national grid.
Akah, who spoke in Abuja, solicited the support of members of the public and the Consumer Protection Council to collaborate with electricity service providers and security agencies in ensuring adequate protection of power installations across the country.
Similarly, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, told journalists in Abuja on Tuesday that vandalism had been a serious challenge to not just the oil and gas sector, but also the power sector.
Meanwhile, the management of Ikeja Electric has apologised to its customers for the epileptic power supply across its network in the past three days.
The Head of Corporate Communications, Ikeja Electric, Mr. Felix Ofulue, made the apology through a statement on Wednesday.
Ofulue attributed the poor service to the ongoing activities by labour unions picketing the facilities of the company over the purported sacking of 400 workers.
He said the company’s employees were not on strike, but that they had been prevented by the protesting labour unions from gaining access to its facilities and “are, therefore, not in a position to provide any consistent service to our valued customers.”
Ofulue noted that the situation had impacted negatively on power supply as well as the purchase of recharge units because all the substations, business units and undertakings had been taken over by members of the protesting unions.
He said, “Ikeja Electric regrets all inconveniences this action may have caused its customers and appeals to all its customers to please bear with us.
“We assure our customers that the company is doing its best to normalise the situation within the shortest possible time. We thank all our customers for their patience and understanding.”
Power sector workers under the aegis of National Union of Electricity Employees and Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies had on Monday picketed the head office of the Ikeja Electric over the sacking of 400 workers of the company.
The union had issued a seven-day ultimatum to the management of the company last week Tuesday to recall the disengaged workers or face industrial action.