Claims and counter claims have continued to trail the exposure on why Nigeria has remained in darkness despite availability of gas to power the system, reports Ripple Nigeria
In a statement marking his one year anniversary as Group Managing Director at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru shocked many when he stated that at least 50 per cent of domestic gas supplied to the power generating companies (Gencos) are often wasted due to inability of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to wheel out generated power by the Gencos.
This has made it impossible for Nigeria to improve from its 4.3 megawatts electricity supply in the past 10 years.
Hear Baru: “During the period under review, domestic gas supply increased from average of 700mmscf, in July 2016 to an average of 1,220mmscfd currently, with about 75 per cent of the volume supplied to thermal power plants.
“A lot of Generation Companies, as a result, are rejecting gas due to the inability of Transmission Company of Nigeria to wheel-out the power generated”.
He also stated NNPC had done everything possible to reduce this waste, but little or no progress has been made in that regard.
But when contacted, the management of TCN said there were some exaggeration of the true situation as regards the issues on power supplied to it by the Gencos to be wheeled out to the distribution companies (Discos).
An aide to Mr. Usman Gur Mohammed Managing Director of TCN, Mr. Danladi Umar, said the true situation is not being told to the public.
Umar indirectly confirmed that some volumes of power supplied it by the Gencos are not fully utilised due to damage that transmission stations have suffered, coupled with having some obsolete equipments.
“Like every other commodity, warehousing the power is the main issue here, because not all times do we have Discos ready to take up the energy we receive.
“Even the Gencos and Discos know that they are not fully equipped with the required facilities to keep the system running, too. This is in addition to huge debts that most of the operators are owing us.”
On the total debts, he said businesse code and ethics would not permit him to disclose such to the public, adding, “But they know their outstanding bills with TCN.”
However, the Gencos while faulting the allegation that they are to be held responsible for wastage of gas meant to boost power supply in the country, said many factors are playing together in disrupting the system.
The spokesman of the Association of Power Generating Companies of Nigeria (APGCN) and managing director, Suretech Engineering Nigerian Limited, Mr. Raphael Odinaka told Ripples Nigeria that the government, the TCN and Discos have all been playing one role or the other in frustrating improvement in the power sector.
“As I speak with you, the TCN is still run as a ministry, such that a proposal that is supposed to be attended to with urgency takes weeks, if not months to be looked into.
“From the experience outside Nigerian shores, transmission services are rendered by the private sector, so that all stakeholders can operate at the same wave length.
“But here, the TCN because it is not running any overhead costs, often chooses to allow the same bureaucratic bottleneck drawing down government ministries and agencies hold it down”.
On the failure of Gencos to warehouse the gas supplied by NNPC, he said there is a specific time frame for that to remain with them, unless safety standard is to be compromised.
He alleged that TCN is fond of wheeling transmission to zones that are not in
higher need of the power.
But according to the Gencos, it is only when they (TCN) are under pressure from Discos and other operators that they would do the right thing, which often see them losing the volume of gas at their disposal
All attempts to get feelers from the Discos proved abortive.
However, a very close source said despite attempts made by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatude Fashola to resolve the sour business relationship between the Gencos and Discos, the unsettled debts of about N100 billion still hampers power improvement in Nigeria