Blackout Looms as Gencos Experience Gas Shortage

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SWITZERLAND, MARCH 31 – As millions of Nigerians continue with the forced restriction of their movements in the face of the raging COVID-19 pandemic and are expected to stay at home monitoring latest news on the pandemic and other critical developments, there are strong indications that most would experience worsening blackout in the days ahead. Already, gas supply shortage had forced four of the power Generation Companies (GenCos) to shut down while 10 others have been adversely affected as they are now cutting their power generation.

Confirming the worrisome development at this time of electricity customers’ need for stable electricity, Transmission Company of Nigeria’s (TCN’s) spokesperson, Mrs. Ndidi Mbah, in a statement on Monday disclosed that only two GenCos, Azura and Odukpani, are operating at full capacity on the national grid. The GenCos had reported the shortages earlier on 7 March 2020 which was expected to improve 10 days after a gas pipeline maintenance exercise. However, in its latest update, TCN said the gas shortage has persisted till date. “This has restrained optimal generation into the grid and consequently the quantum of electricity transmitted to distribution load centres,” Mbah confirmed.

The four gas-based power plants mostly affected by the shortage include Geregu Gas which generated zero megawatts (MW) instead of 435MW capacity; Sapele NIPP GenCo has 230MW capacity but limited to 0MW; Olorunsogo NIPP can’t generate its 112MW, and Gbarain NIPP can’t generate its 112MW capacity. The 10 others are with limited generation due to gas shortage.

They include Geregu NIPP which generated 81MW leaving out 354MW; Olorunsogo Gas generated 70.5MW with a shortfall of 195.5MW, Omotosho NIPP generated 110MW with a shortfall of 220MW, Egbin generated 860MW but lost 264MW, Delta II-IV Gas generated 306.8MW and lost 128MW. Others are, Okpai Gas which generated 159MW but lost 291MW, Rivers IPP lost 40MW, AFAM IV-V lost 60MW and Paras Energy lost 30MW. AFAM VI which does not have gas supply problem however has a faulty unit. Mbah further clarified that “with the current situation, therefore, a few of the distribution companies that can pick more load are unable to, because what is generated into the grid is what TCN strives to distribute equitably to DisCo nationwide.”

TCN stressed the need to urgently address the issue of gas shortage to thermal generating power plants nationwide to avert serious system disturbance.

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