Power supply dips by 360MW
The supply of electricity to consumers across the country has fallen by 360.88 megawatts in the last one week and the Federal Government has again attributed the development to the vandalism of pipelines that transport gas to power plants.
Specifically, the energy sent out to electricity consumers plunged from 3,424.11MW on February 17 to 3,063.23MW on Wednesday, while the average national demand stood at 12,800MW.
Within the same period, peak electricity generation fell from 3,768.2MW to 3,224.8MW, while energy generation also dropped from 3,494.96MW to 3,131.8MW.
The PUNCH had on Monday reported exclusively that the country was losing over 1,500MW of power despite claims by President Goodluck Jonathan that he had delivered on his promise to supply electric to Nigerians.
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, has often blamed the fall in power supply to continued puncturing of gas pipelines.
He had said in Lagos last week, “Power generation in the country today has improved tremendously with actual generation/transmission capacity consistently hovering around 5,000MW, up from 2,800MW in 2011.
“Currently, the major challenge to increased power generation is the limitation in gas supply as a result of the activities of vandals who are bent on visiting hardship on the entire nation.”
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday, Nebo again said the country could boast of only four days of free flow of gas to the power plants without interruption by vandals.
He said, “We have only had four days of free flow of gas without vandalism. That tells you how horrible the situation with vandalism is. Vandalism is affecting our capacity to generate electricity.
“We are hoping that in the next two weeks, when the other pipelines that are being repaired and the ones that are being serviced are put in use, we will come back to, and even go beyond where we are.”
Asked if securing the pipelines was beyond the abilities of the security agencies, the minister said, “It is not beyond them. When you are talking about thousands of kilometres on one stretch, to police this is not easy. Because when these things were instituted or installed, nobody thought that Nigerians would hate themselves enough to directly vandalise the pipelines.
“What we are now trying to do, using the various security agencies, especially the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Navy, Army, Police, and so on, is to make sure that these places are garrisoned. But this will not stop the problem.
“The most critical is what Mr. President is trying to do now: deploy resources to digitally survey the pipelines. It is very expensive. But we have to do that. Until that happens, we still have to worry about vandalism.”
The minister advocated for embedded generation of power and noted that this would help address the pains of pipeline vandalism.
“But if you have embedded power, or embedded generation, it goes back directly to the Discos. Others will generate this power and sell to the Discos, but the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission will have to moderate and make sure that customers are not sub-charged, swindled and don’t have to pay