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Minister regrets power outage, pledges action

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Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman. Photo: TWITTER/POWERMINNIGERIA

16 plants worsen poor electricity supply

More than 16 electricity-generating plants in the country are facing critical challenges, worsening the seemingly intractable epileptic power supply.

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The problem cropped up despite the introduction of a service-based tariff, which has increased electricity bills by over 100 per cent.

The service-based tariff was pegged on the promise of improved electricity supply, particularly in terms of increase or sustained hours of electricity supply.

Problems relating to gas supply and maintenance loopholes have thrown the country into darkness as generation capacity witness critical challenges.

Minister for Power, Sale Mamman, who, yesterday, apologised for the dismal performance of the power sector, listed the problematic power plants to include Sapele, Afam, Olorunsogo, Omotoso, Ibom, Egbin, Alaoji, and Ihovbor.

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The Geregu, Sepele, Omotoso, Gbarain, Omuku, Paras, and Alaoji are reportedly experiencing gas constraints while the Shiroro Power Plant is facing water management problems. The Jebba Power Plant has been shut down for maintenance.

Data from the government-owned National Control Centre (NCC) in Osogbo, Osun State, revealed that in March, Nigeria’s power generation stood between 3,578.75 megawatts and 4, 898.21 Megawatts. Despite this level of generation, 3,078MW stranded generation was recorded on the 12th of March as DisCos demanded only 2,188.1MW.

Some distribution companies had recently announced load shedding from partners, while average energy constraints for the first quarter stood at 1,897MW, as against the average current capacity of between 3,500MW to 5,000MW. Electricity distribution companies rejected a total of 5,452.96 megawatts of electricity in one week, causing blackouts in various locations across the country.

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“I sincerely regret the recent power outage across the nation and the difficulties it has brought with it. I assure my fellow Nigerians that everyone involved is working assiduously to restore the national grid to its previous historical levels and even exceed the levels,” Mamman said in a statement.

Beyond Mamman’s apology, there is fear that the current development may be signs of more trouble to come.

A top official of a power-generating company told The Guardian that the prevailing situation was an indication of the many problems bedeviling the sector.

It was learned that despite the increase in electricity tariff, remittances to the generation companies have remained below 30 per cent, as over 6,000 megawatts of electricity is currently stalled due to gas constraints.

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Mamman noted that the “unfortunate development has drastically affected power generation, thus effectively minimising the national grid.”

He assured the nation that the ministry, through appropriate agencies, was working hard to resolve the technical problems affecting the power plants as well as addressing the gas supply challenge to them.

The minister said the national grid would be restored to its previous historic distribution peak of about 5,600MW of electricity achieved early this year, to relieve Nigerians of the current harsh climatic conditions and restore full economic activities.

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