Nigeria’s energy crisis deteriorated Monday, as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the government agency responsible for regulating operations in the electricity sector, reported that only five of the country’ 23 power plants are currently functional.
By implication, Nigerians would now have to contend with a biting fuel supply crisis, which has almost grounded the economy for months, and lack of electricity to power.
On Friday, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, had during a meeting with outgoing Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, in Abuja raised the alarm over the epileptic supply of electricity across the country.
Mr. Igali, in the company of the Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, said the country’s dwindling electricity supply took a further nosedive to unprecedented all-time low level of 1,327 megawatts (MW) from the 4,800 MW level attained recently.
He attributed the damning situation to the epileptic performance of most key power plants in the country, including those located in at Utorogu, Chevron Oredo, Oben gas-fired power plants, as well as Ughelli and Chevron Escravos power plant, which have all been shut down.
Mr. Igali also spoke of the closure of the National Integrated Power Plants (NIPPs), including Nigeria’s largest power plant at Egbin, Olorunshogo 1 & 11, Omotosho 1& 11, Geregu I & 11, Ihonvor and Sapele on the western axis and Alaoji on the eastern end.
Late on Monday, the Chairman of NERC, Sam Amadi, said the current acute shortage of electricity supply to consumers was as a result of 18 of the country’s 23 power plants not generating electricity at the moment.
Mr. Amadi acknowledged the attendant hardship the situation had imposed on Nigerians, and appealed for calm, saying the government was doing all within its powers to improve the situation.
In the last couple of months, he said electricity supply has been poor generally on account of increased vandalism prior to the April 2015 elections. He said since then the poor supply condition has grown worse in the last few days.
“At present, 18 out of the 23 power plants in the country are unable to generate electricity due to shortage of gas supply to the thermal plants, with one of the hydro stations faced with water management issue. This has led to loss of over 2,000 megawatts in the national grid,” Mr. Amadi said.
He said the situation was further compounded by the strike action by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) chapter of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).
The strike, he explained, had seriously affected all other sectors in the energy supply chain of the economy, particularly gas supply to the thermal power plants.
Although the Chairman said the Commission had recently engaged the gas supply companies and its licensees on strategies to boost gas supply to power plants, he expressed regrets that not much progress was made.
He blamed the poor outcome on the inability of the NNPC and its subsidiary, the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) to maintain regular supply, due to the high incidence of vandalism on the Trans-Forcados pipeline in the western axis and Escravos-Lagos gas pipeline in the eastern axis.
The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) had on Sunday reported another systems collapse at Shiroro power plant, which reduced the level of electricity supply to Abuja zone to just 15 MW, from about less than 200MW daily enjoyed in recent times.