Nigeria is currently experiencing one of its worst power supply decline in recent times. In fact, it is so bad that most Nigerians have resorted to alternative power supply as their mainstay. The light situation is made even worse now that fuel shortages are being experienced in most parts of the country. Add this to one of the harshest weathers ever to hit Nigeria and what you gets is daily frustration and stress pummelled on Nigerians. But why is this so? Why are things this bad? The answer is simple. Nigeria is currently facing its worst power generation crisis of all times.
Poor power generation and energy sent out
Records from the Presidential Taskforce on Power on May 7, shows energy generated is currently at 2,391.31MWH/H, whilst actually energy sent energy is 2,345.7MWH/H. Power generation on the other hand is 3,067.2MW a more than 1,500MW shortfall from its peak generation of 4,517.6 back in December 2012.
Power generation according to reports stood at 2,880.72MW as of Tuesday, May 5, while 2,817.05MW was sent out, according to the Federal Ministry of Power.
The drop in power generation and supply according to reports is due the declaration of force majeure by Shell on exports of Nigeria’s Forcados crude oil stream on the evening of Tuesday following “a series of leaks” in the Trans Forcados pipeline that brings the oil to the export terminal.
Gas supply issues
The Trans Forcados pipeline is responsible for over 50 per cent of the country’s gas supply. This accounts for the reason the shut down created major power supply shortfall. And with Gas supply basically in short supply, the power plants can not function at maximum capacity thus leading to low power being generated to the grid. The Transmission Company therefore has little power to transmit to the discos which in turn cannot distribute power to consumers.
Hydro power generation issues
Whenever there is lower water supply to the nation’s thermal and hydropower plants, we also experience serious power supply issues. The Kainji dam for example helps augments power supply in the country especially in the North part of the country. However, with the country experiences prolonged heatwaves the rains have not fallen enough to sustain hydropower generation. As such, we continue to remain at the mercy of gas supplies which as it stands is perhaps the biggest reason why power supply is this bad.
Gas-fired power plants generate about 70 per cent of the nation’s electricity, while the balance is derived from hydropower plants, including the Kainji and Jebba power stations, which have a combined installed capacity of 1,330MW.