Gas shortage: 12 power plants suffer setback, 2000MW idle

The challenge of gas supply in the nation’s power sector left nearly 2,000 megawatts capacity idle at 12 power plants on Wednesday.

The nation’s unutilised electricity generation capacity due to gas constraints stood at to 1,987.5MW as of 6am on Wednesday, down from 2,482MW on Tuesday, data obtained from the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing showed. The affected plants are Egbin Thermal Power Station, Geregu I and II, Olorunsogo I and II, Omotosho I, Odukpani, Ihovbor, Alaoji II, Trans-Amadi and Rivers IPPs.

Unutilised capacity due to gas constraint at Egbin stood at 150MW; Alaoji (360MW); Geregu I (237MW) and II (145MW; Omotosho I (120MW); Odukpani (54.5MW); Ihovbor (225MW); Trans-Amadi (40MW), and Rivers (30MW).

Total power generation stood at 4,290.80MW as of 6am on Wednesday, up from 4,187.30MW on Tuesday.

The country generates the bulk of its electricity from gas-fired power plants, while output from hydro-power plants makes up about 30 per cent of total generation.

One of the hydro power plants, Shiroro, did not generate any megawatts of electricity on Wednesday as the station was said to be out due to turbine pit flooding.

Electricity distribution companies have said their inability to pay for gas due to non-payment of a debt of nearly N1tn owed them by the distribution companies will lead to the shutdown of power plants.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, alleged last week that the Gencos were planning to disrupt the supply of electricity across the country.

The Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies, Dr. Joy Ogaji, told our correspondent in a telephone interview, “We are in the business of power generation. So, don’t you think we cannot disrupt our business? We have not issued any such threat that we are going to shut down power.“But it is natural that when we are not being paid, we don’t have money to buy gas to generate power and we cannot pay salaries. So, automatically, the power plants will shut down even without us wanting to shut them down. We have not issued any notice that we are shutting down, but the natural occurrence will happen.”

The PUNCH had two weeks ago reported that some Gencos had dragged the government before the Federal High Court in Abuja over what they termed discriminatory practices against their interests and those of gas suppliers.

The firms also accused the Federal Government of conferring preferential treatment on Azura Power West Africa Limited and Accugas Limited at their own expense.