In May 1999 when General Olusegun Obasanjo assumed office, the power supply system in the country was in a very terrible state of disrepair and neglect. The generation availability was down to 1,600MW from the installed capacity of 5,876MW.
This was far below the estimated national demand of about 3,250MW. But Nigerians are distrustful and skeptical about timelines. On assumption of office in 1999 as Minister of Power, late Chief Bola Ige promised to end the nightmare of electricity supply in six months. By the time of his death in 2001, the situation had worsened considerably.
Egbin Electric Power Station with an installed capacity of 1,320 MW is being upgraded to 1,870 MW. Egbin is reputed to be the biggest and the most modern power station in the West African sub region. The 20-year old thermal station is being expanded with the installation of additional units which is expected to increase the generating capacity of the station.
Kainji Power Station is a hydro power station established in December 1968; with a capacity of 760 MW. The ongoing reforms in the power sector have resulted in the utilization of seven out of the eight installed units.
Oji River Power Station is the only coal powered steam turbine station in Nigeria. After years of neglect and under-utilization, rehabilitation work commenced on July 19, 2003. The total production capacity is 30 MW. The rehabilitation covers work on five boilers, four steam turbines, and reactivation of the coal handling equipment. By July 17, 2004, the steam turbines were successfully tested at a synchronized speed of 3,000 rpm and loaded to 2.5 MW
Calabar Thermal Power Station was commissioned in 1935 and serves as booster station to Afam and Oji power stations. Like the other power stations, it also suffered years of neglect. But the Obasanjo administration began rehabilitation works on the station which was expected to inject just 7MW into the national grid.
For instance, it was observed that only 19 out of a total of 79 generating units were in operation. The available radial transmission lines were old and did not cover most parts of the country.
Many power transformers and circuit breakers were not maintained for years and were overloaded, insufficient and broke down regularly.
Also, overloaded distribution transformers, unmaintained lines characterized the distribution system. This abysmal poor state of affairs in the power sector was due to many reasons that include the following:
Capacity loss suffered by the system due to poor maintenance and overhaul schedules of the generating plants for over the last 20 years.
Prolonged neglect and non-maintenance of the transmission lines and the distribution sub-stations;
No new power plants were built since 1990 and no new 330kv and 132kv transmission lines were built since 1981;
Seasonal fluctuations in the water levels in the lakes of the hydro stations at Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro.
This informed the formation of a Technical Board which was inaugurated in March 2000 with a mandate to increase generation to 4,000MW. By 2000, average daily generation was between 1,700MW and 1,900MW from 17 generating units. The mandate of the Technical Board was:
Optimal utilization of resources for the provision of electricity services;
maximize access to electricity services by promoting and facilitating connection
Adequate supply of electricity to consumers;
Avoid exploitative billing by private operators;
That regulation is fair and balance for Licensees, consumers’ investors and other stake holders;
Establishment of appropriate operating codes on safety, security and quality standards;
Promote and preserve efficient electricity industry and market structures
Create efficient distribution system;
License and regulate persons engaged in the generation and transmission of electricity.
It also resulted in the creation of successor companies to PHCN. These included 11 Distribution companies (DisCos), six Generation companies (GenCos) and one Transmission Systems Company (TranSysCo) in November 2005.
THE NIPP AND GAS SUPPLY CHAIN
The NIPP project as conceputalized by the Obasanjo administration was to tackle the problem of infrastructural development in the Niger-Delta region.
Five of the seven of the proposed new power stations were located in Bayelsa, Delta, Cross Rivers, Edo and Imo States where they were expected to add 2,000 MW to the national grid. But the supply of gas to the power stations has remained a major challenge owing to the growing acts of vandalism and sabotage.
THE NIPP (National Integrated Power Project) PROJECT
The NIPP was unprecedented in the history of Nigeria and was expected to significantly ease the power supply problem in the Niger-Delta region and beyond. The seven power stations were to cost N33 billion and to be completed over a period of 18 months.
Over 86 contracts valued at N305 billion were awarded to consortia of local and foreign contractors. The Geregu Power station located in Kogi State has a capacity of 414 MW, and was to be the biggest among the new power stations. It comprises three units of 94.2 gas turbines and ancillary equipment.
The Gbarain / Ubie power station with the gas turbine will cost N24.8 billion and is expected to generate 225MW.
The Egbema Gas Plant with a capacity of 388 MW will be constructed with the gas supply turbines for an estimated cost of N26 billion. This will serve communities within a radius of 5km.
The Omotosho community in Ondo State will host another power station with a capacity of 335 MW.
The Papalanto Gas Power Station located in Ogun State has an estimated capacity of 335 MW. This Power Station is being built in two phases and jointly financed by the Federal Government and its Chinese counterpart.
Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo performed the ground breaking ceremony of 561 MW Calabar Gas Plant in December of the same year. The first phase of the project was to have been commissioned in July 2007 while the entire project was to come on stream in November 2007. This informed the optimism of the Federal government to declare that it would meet a target to deliver 10,000MW by the end of that year.
Scope, structure, conception of the National Integrated Power Project
To achieve this target, the Federal Government embarked on the following strategies:
License new Independent Power Plants (IPPs)
Embark on N33 billion National Integrated Power Project, NIPP
Deregulate the electricity industry to attract more investment from local and off-shore sources; Nigeria’s requirement in foreign investment in this sector is put at 60%.
The Integrated Power project was conceptualized in December 2004 , by the Obasanjo administration as a plan to ensure sustainable development of the power sector.