*FG spends N79bn on failed 6,000Mw project
By Oscaline Onwuemenyi
ABUJAâ€”The current power outages being experienced in parts of the country may get worse due to inadequate gas supply to fire the turbine power stations. Consequently, power generation capacity has dropped to 2,700 Mw from 3,710Mw at the end of last year.
The Minister of Power, Dr. Rilwan Babalola, who made the disclosure yesterday at a power sector update and ministerial press briefing in Abuja, further revealed that more than N79 billion was spent towards the failed actualization of 6000Mw of electricity by December 2009.
Blames inadequate gas supply
Babalola was, however, quick to blame inadequate gas supply to the various thermal plants for the drastic short-fall experienced in power generation in the country.
He said there was need to improve on supply by diversifying power generation beyond gas, which is presently the dominant generation technology, and increase security and reliability of electricity services in the country.
According to him, â€œProviding access to affordable and reliable electricity to all citizens of Nigeria is a critical national goal of the Federal Government.
â€œThis is in view of the fact that without adequate and reliable electricity supply, our socio-economic goals of alleviating poverty, creating jobs and wealth as envisaged in the -Point Agenda and Vision 2020 cannot be achieved.â€
He explained that the Federal Government set a target of 6000Mw to be achieved by December 2009 to meet demand projection for 2010, which is estimated at about 5100Mw. This target of generation capacity was assessed as being sufficient to meet the unsuppressed peak demand with some reserve margins.
The Managing Director of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, Mr. Hussein Labo, who confirmed the situation, explained that it was as a result of a steady decline in gas supply from the Nigeria Gas Company, NGC to the various power stations in the country.
The power company said sequel to the non-availability of adequate gas to power the plants, power generation at the Egbin Power station has reduced from 800Mw to only 100Mw and a daily shortfall of 150Mw at the Geregu Power Station. Egbin has the capacity to generate 1,320Mw of electricity, while Gereguâ€™s generation capacity is 414Mw.
The inadequate gas supply to fire the available turbines has led to a loss of over 800Mw. This great loss has impacted negatively on power supply giving rise to load shedding nationwide.