GenCos say inefficient grid management threatens Nigeria’s quest for constant power supply

THE Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC) on Sunday said poor national grid management, which has led to the shutdown of turbines of some power plants in the country, is a threat to Nigeria’s quest for constant electricity supply.

Executive Secretary of APGC Joy Ogaji said the intermittent start and stop of some turbines occasioned by load rejection from the transmission and distribution companies cause wear and tear on the national grid.

“In a normal situation, the generation companies are supposed to start and stop at most 20 times in a year. However, in Nigeria, they work for 365 days every year. This development causes wear and tear on the grid while affecting the turbine plants. This puts the grid at risks a lot,” she said.

Ogaji, who also observed that the drop in hydropower generation in the dry season affects power generation, however, noted that thermal plants could perform optimally in place of hydropower, if they are well serviced.

“Last year, generation companies engaged an expert to investigate these issues. It was found that the ramp down and ramp-up have affected the turbines.”

Citing another instance, she said: “Siemens company has told Geregu power plant to shut down the machines observing that if the start-stop continues, it will destroy the three gas turbines.”

Ogaji also disclosed that before the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) took over electricity payments in 2015, the Market Operator used to pay GenCos for capacity charge and energy charge based on the privatization contract.

However, according to her, NBET illegally stopped the payment since 2015.

“Currently, the unpaid available capacity charge which we’re owed by NBET is N1.644.15 trillion,” she said.

The breakdown indicates that for every year, about half of the power made available by the GenCos is not paid for as the national grid could not take the energy to consumers.

In 2015, GenCos recorded 6,661MW generation capacity but 3,606MW was taken by the grid as 3,010MW was stranded causing N214.9 billion shortfall.

It was the same situation in 2026 as GenCos generated 3,828MW but recorded N273.9 billion debt; another 236.4 billion debt was recorded in 2017 as a result of unutilised 3,312MW.

By 2018, the stranded power rose to 3,699MW worth N264 billion and in 2019, the shortfall was N256.9 billion for 3,599MW unutilized electricity.

As of 2020, the GenCos could not earn N266 billion due to 3,742MW stranded power while N120 billion was the debt for last year when GenCos generated 6,336MW but 2,246MW was stranded due to grid inefficiency.

Commenting on way forward, Obaji said: “We want to have a sit down with the government as a matter of urgency if we want sustainability of power in the market, and look at all these issues for reconciliation.”

Meanwhile, in its reaction, NBET disputed the figures quoted by the GenCos, saying only companies with active gas supply and transportation contracts were paid for unutilised capacity.

The Head Corporate Communication, NBET, Henrietta Ighomrore explained that only five power generation companies with active Gas Purchase Agreement were paid for unused capacity.

According to her, claims by Ogaji that the GenCos have the capacity to generate 9,000MW were not accurate as inspections by NBET have shown that such capacity does not exist.

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