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40% of power generators shut over low demand


Eni strikes major gas find in NigeriaOVER 40 per cent of the power generation plants in the Nigeria Supply Industry (NESI) has been shut because of low demand for electricity by the distribution companies (DisCos).

There are 28 power generating plants in the nation’s electricity market, 85 per cent of the power generated is from gas fired plants.

Three are hydros (Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro). Seven of the plants are the legacy power stations that were privatised of which eight are thermal and gas, while the three tiers of government own 10 Independent Power Power Plants (IPPs).

General Manager, System Operator (SO), Mr. Emmanuel Umoh, told reporters during a training workshop in Shiroro Hydroelectric Power Plant, Shiroro in Niger State.

According to him, NESI allocates between 260megawatts (Mw) and 300Mw daily to Republic of Benin and 120Mw to 130Mw to Niger Republic.

The rejection of load, according to him, is responsible for instability of the grid as the SO of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) always compels the generating firms to shutdown operations for unutilised load to avoid high voltage and damage to transmission transformers and system collapse.

The SO, operating from the National Control Centre in Oshogbo, Osun State usually directs the switch off further generation once the frequency is out of the range of 49.75 to 50.05Hz.

Umoh said although the transmission capacity is now over 9,000Mw, the DisCos are not ready to pick the load.

He said TCN now relies on whatever load the DisCos demand to direct generation companies’ production to avoid waste since Nigeria cannot store electricity.

He noted that there is a new technology for Energy Storage System (ESS) that is yet to take effective useage globally. Umoh said the ESS may not be useful in the Nigeria situation because there is no idea of when the demand would increase.

He said the DisCos have the propensity of supplying their customers from the 33Kv lines that are 800 in the country.

The lines, he said, “are not healthy enough,” for such usage.

He also revealed that the power allocated to the eligible customers is an  “exempted load” which is not fixed but a percentage of the generated power.

In terms of load rejection, he said that Enugu, Port Harcourt and Benin distribution companies, are worst off in term of load rejection.

He added that the “DisCos have the capacity to take more load but for commercial reasons they don’t do so.”

Umoh said that the TCN compiles DisCos load rejection data and sends it to the Federal Ministry of Power and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission for action.

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