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Power: Afam, Sapele plants shut over gas shortage

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The number of idle power generation plants in Nigeria rises to 11 in 24 hours

 

The multi-million dollar Afam IV&V and Sapele I plants have been shut as gas supply shortage has, again, rocked the Nigeria’s power sector, surging the number of idle generation plants.

 

The Nigerian Electricity System Operator, which confirmed this in a document sighted by New Telegraph at the weekend, noted that the number of idle plants increased from nine to 11 within 24 hours “as a result of gas constraints as well as low load demand by the distribution companies and water management.”

 

The number of idle power plants on the national grid rose to 11 at the weekend, the document showed. This happened few days after a system collapse that plunged parts of the country into a blackout.

 

New Telegraph had earlier reported that the country’s power grid collapsed on Wednesday for the first time this year, and the second time in the last three months.

 

“Total power generation fell to 4,660.60 megawatts as of 6am on Thursday from 4,499.90MW on Wednesday, as three more plants, namely Afam IV&V and Sapele I, were shut down, according to the Nigerian Electricity System Operator.

 

The other idle plants are Sapele II, Alaoji, Olorunsogo II, Ihovbor, Gbarain, Ibom Power, AES, ASCO and Egbin ST6. Eleven power plants did not produce electricity as of 6am on Thursday, compared to nine that were idle the previous day.

 

Two units (GT11 and GT12) at Afam IV&V were said to have been decommissioned and scrapped, while GT13, GT14, GT15 and GT16 were out on blade failure. Its GT17 was yet to be synchonised after system disturbance of Wednesday while GT18 was out due to synchronisation problem, the NESO said.

 

The data showed that generation capacity of 1,881.1MW could not be utilised as of 6am on Monday as a result of gas constraints, low load demand by the distribution companies and water management.

 

The average energy sent out on Wednesday was 3,879 MW-hour/ hour (down by 709.33 watt-hour/ hour) from the previous day, according to the Advisory Power Team in the Office of the Vice- President.

 

“The power sector lost an estimated N903m on February 17, 2021, due to constraints from insufficient gas supply, distribution infrastructure and transmission infrastructure,” the APT said.

 

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 generation.

The system operator put the nation’s installed generation capacity at 12,954.40MW; available capacity at 7,652.60MW; transmission wheeling capacity at 7,300MW; and the peak generation ever attained at 5520.4MW.

 

The electricity transmission system also known as the National grid had on Wednesday collapsed, plunging the whole of Lagos and major cities across the country into darkness for about four hours. This, according to checks by New Telegraph, is the second time in less than three months that the grid suffered a collapse.

 

The last time the system collapse was on November 29, 2020. Though the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) was silent on the incident yesterday, Power  utilìty companies in Lagos, Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) and Ikeja Electric, confirmed the collapse in separate tweets.

 

Spokesperson for TCN, Ndidi Mbah, did not pick calls made to her number, she did not also respond to a text message seeking clarification on the grid collapse. Checks by this newspaper, however, showed that the grid, which suffered a collapsed at exactly 13:58 hours, was restored partially at 16:19 pm.

 

Confirming this in a tweet to its cusomers, the EKEDC stated unequivocally that the prolonged power outage being experienced across the network was as a result of system collapse from the national grid.

 

“Power would be restored as soon as the system is stable,” the company said. It added that the system was restored partially at 16:19 hours to Ajah and Alagbon & Lekki Transmission Stations (TS).

 

“At 16:30hrs Akoka TS was restored. 14:44hrs Ojo TS on supply,” the company said.

 

The Ikeja Electric also added: “This is to inform you that we experienced a system collapse at 13:58hrs today and this affected all customers on the IE network. “However, we are pleased to confirm that supply has been restored to Alimosho, Ogba, and Alausa transmission stations at 14:47hrs.”

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