THE dismal power situation across the country has been blamed on the failure of distribution companies, DISCOs to invest adequately in the sector so as to ensure increase in capacity utilization.
Dr Joy OGAJI, Chief Executive Officer ATC told Vanguard while explaining the rationale behind the lingering crisis in the sector. According to her, “There has been blame trading in the power sector. Transmission blames the DISCOs for not accepting load due to their inability to pay for the power received. On the Other hand, the DISCOs are going about blaming the GENCOs for not generating enough, she stated. Explaining the implication of this buck passing game she said, “The impact of power being rejected or not wheeled by transmission and DISCOs is so devastating on the GENCOs both in terms of its mechanical and commercial impacts.”
She noted that since the privatisation in 2013, GENCOs have invested heavily to ramp up their respective plant capacity, thereby resulting in a significant increase in grid supply from 2,000MegaWatts, MW to 4,800MW and leading up to a new peak in electricity generation of 5074.7 MW on February 3, 2016. She stated that in addition to the menace of power rejection as well as the weak transmission system with high risk of collapse, the rising cases of pipeline vandalism and insecurity around gas production and transportation assets have further diminished the supply of gas to generation plants and consequently resulted in reduced capacity generation recently. According to her, the absence of guarantee of gas supply is a critical factor to the crisis in the power sector.
“There was no Gas Guarantee. What the government had in place was a DSO (Domestic Supply Obligation) given to oil and gas exploration and production companies,” she stated. She noted that the DSO arrangement is to ensure 70 percent of gas produced for local consumption was dedicated to the power industry, stressing that the proper monitoring of this 70 percent was not effective as sometimes domestic gas can be diverted for industrial use. “Research shows that only 9 percent of gas produced is domestically utilized for power generation in Nigeria. 41 percent of gas produced is exported to the international market. 10 percent of gas produced is still being flared (more gas is flared than used for power generation).Re-adjusting the gas mix would strategically position Nigeria for domestic energy security, she stated.