Despite N200 bn paid by Nigeria Government to the power sector, gas shortage stalls 23,081MW

The dearth of gas stalled the generation of 23, 081 . 5 megawatts of electricity in eight days despite the N 200 bn that was paid by the Federal Government recently to the power sector , particularly for settling gas debts .

Investigations showed that between April 16 and 23, 2020 , gas constraint persisted as the most daily dominant challenge to power generation .

Findings revealed that after the government announced on April 15 that it had paid N 200 bn to the power sector , especially to make gas available , the commodity remained unavailable as required to run gas- fired thermal power plants.

The Group Managing Director , Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation , Mele Kyari , declared on April 15 that the Federal Government had paid over N 200 bn for power supply in Nigeria.

Kyari disclosed this after a meeting with the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman ; Managing Director , Transmission Company of Nigeria , Usman Mohammed ; and Managing Director , Niger Delta Power Holding Company , Chiedu Ugbo, among others.

Explaining what the government was doing to resolve the non – payment for gas by power generation companies , Kyari said , “ Actually, the Federal Government has made payments of over N 200 bn for power in the last two to three days .

“ This will go a long way in making sure that those payment issues are resolved .

And we are engaging as a government and as a team to make sure that those payment issues are fully settled . ”

However , data obtained by our correspondent in Abuja on Saturday from the Advisory Power Team in the Office of the Vice President showed that the next day after Kyari ’ s announcement (April 16, 2020) , gas unavailability alone stalled the generation of 3 , 210 MW of power.

It was further observed that this persisted for one more week , as gas shortage prevented the generation of 3 , 168 MW , 3 , 041 . 5 MW and 2 , 788 . 5 MW on April 17, 18 and 19 respectively .

Shortage of gas further stopped the production of 2 , 708 MW , 2 , 623 . 5 MW , 2 , 750 MW and 2 , 792 MW on April 20 , 21, 22 and 23 respectively .
Power generation and distribution companies , however, denied knowledge of the N 200 bn payment to the sector by the Federal Government .

They told our correspondent that they did not get the funds.

The Executive Secretary , Association of Power Generation Companies , the umbrella body for Gencos , Joy Ogaji , told our correspondent that she was not aware of any N 200 bn payment .

She said , “ For the records , Gencos have not received fresh funds from anyone . What Gencos have been paid is the payment for energy produced and consumed for 2019 .

“ Gencos have not received any funds of any nomenclature – palliative , stimulus , coronavirus funds , etc.

We are currently being paid for the money owed for 2019. We take exceptions to our name being used to score political points. ”

Operators in the sector further stated on Saturday that gas shortage remained a stiff challenge to power generation .

The APT, for instance , confirmed this as it stated that gas shortage was the most severe constraint to power generation in Nigeria .

“ The dominant constraint on April 22 was due to unavailability of gas – constraining a total of 2 , 750 MW from being available on the grid , ” it stated .

Providing further information for the same day, the APT added , “On April 22, average energy sent out was 3 , 908 MWH / Hour (down by 605 . 7 MW from the previous day) .

“ A total of 2 , 750 MW was not generated due to unavailability of gas.

A total of 112 . 5 MW was not generated due to unavailability of transmission infrastructure, while 1 , 525 . 1 MW was not generated due to high frequency resulting from unavailability of distribution infrastructure . ”

It said 0 MW was recorded as losses due to water management.

The team stressed that the power sector lost an estimated N 2 . 11bn on April 22 due to constraints from insufficient gas supply, distribution infrastructure and transmission infrastructure.

Further findings showed that aside from gas shortage , the lack of transmission and distribution infrastructure stalled the generation of 667 . 5 MW and 9 , 066 . 7 MW respectively , during the period under review .

This therefore indicated that the lack of distribution infrastructure was the second severe constraint to power generation in recent times.

The Managing Director , Transmission Company of Nigeria , Usman Mohammed , told our correspondent that power distribution had remained the weakest link in the sector’ s value chain .

He said , “Distribution is the weakest link in our value chain .

If you look at the problem in most other sectors of the industry , it is either these problems are being solved or that they are about to be solved.

“ As managers of the grid, we are in the middle and so we know the capacity of distribution companies .

“ As of today , apart from this gas challenge that we are facing , which is being handled , the distribution side is faced with lack of investments and that has been a challenge to effective distribution of electricity across the country. ”

It was further observed that during the eight – day period of April 16 to 23, the power sector lost N 15. 75bn as a result of the three major constraints .

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