Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) yesterday explained that the acute shortage of electricity supply in the country is down to the fact that only five power plants are generating electricity.
According to an official emailed statement from NERC’s Chairman/CEO, Dr. Sam Amadi, this has led to loss of over 2,000 megawatts in the national grid.
Amadi, who blamed the ugly development to increase in vandalism in the run up to the April 2015 elections, added that the situation is further compounded by the recent industrial actions embarked upon by workers in the oil and gas industry.
“The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has noticed with concern the acute shortage in power supply and the attendant hardship Nigerians are passing through.
“In the last couple of months, electricity supply has been generally poor on account of increase in vandalism in the run up to the April 2015 elections. But this bad supply condition has worsened in the last few days.
“At present, 18 out of the 23 power plants in the country are unable to generate electricity due 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. “This situation is further compounded by the recent industrial actions embarked upon by workers in the oil and gas industry, a development, which is taking toll on other sectors of the economy. Gas supplies to the thermal plants have been further constrained by the industrial actions of workers in the oil and gas industry.
“The Commission had proactively engaged the gas supply companies and its licencees when two weeks ago discussion was held on how to firm up gas supply in order to increase power supply.
“Unfortunately, not much progress was made through this meeting as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiary Nigeria Gas Company (NGC), disclosed of high incidence of vandalism in some areas that were relatively peaceful along its pipeline networks. “That meeting was told of the damaged done to Trans- Forcados pipeline in the western axis and elps gas pipeline in the eastern axis. Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had explained at the meeting that repair works are being intensified even as it expressed worry on the integrity of the pipelines on account of incessant damage it has sustained.
“In essence, what has brought about this development is the increased incidence of vandalism which is beyond the control of the regulator and the industry operators. This situation is further compounded by the industry actions declared by the oil and gas workers. “However, we have continued to engage with relevant authorities on how fast we can address shortage of gas supply to the thermal plants. We are also engaging with the industry operators on how to improve electricity supply.
“The Commission regrets the hardships, which Nigerians are being subjected to on account of this development as we intensify efforts to bring the situation under control in the shortest possible time,” the statement read.