By Hector Igbikiowubo
THE drop in power generation followingÂ vandalism of the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline conveying gas to most of the power generating plants in the country have worsened load-shedding (power supply rationing) – leaving customers of the power utility company without supply.
To compound the situation, officials of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) go from house to house in Lagos, Abeokuta, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Jos disconnecting premises they claim are indebted to the public utility.
When contacted, Pekun Adeyanju, a senior manager in charge of public affairs at the PHCN, Ikeja zone admitted there was a problem with generation, adding however, that there was the need to recover outstanding debt.
Vanguard checks revealed that in Lagos, areas that used to receive 3 hours of power supply have been starved of supply following the vandalism of Utorogu gas line and same situation applies to the areas earlier mentioned.
It will be recalled that following vandalism of the Utorogu line, gas supply to the 1320 Megawatts (MW) Egbin thermal power station and others was disrupted, causing the national grid to lose 1000 Megawatts (MW) of electricity generation.
A statement released by management of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), disclosed that the loss to the national grid amounted to 500 MW and was later raised to 1000 MW from the current 2400MW of power across the country.
Due to supply limitation, Sapele Power Station has been shut down since November 2008, while supplies to Geregu, Omotosho and Olorunsogo Power Stations are similarly affected.
Egbin in particular had been badly affected by the recurring vandalism of the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline, causing the plant to drop output to 300 MW. It was gathered however, that output from the plant had increased to 600MW before the recent development, an indication that only 100 MW output may be generated from today.
Although PHCN appealed to customers, the media and other stakeholders for understanding and continued support pending repairs, checks revealed that customers are peeved at the public utility for resorting to disconnecting them even as darkness prevails.Â Vandalism of the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline has become a recurring decimal, making it impossible for the PHCN to meet its obligations to power consumers.
While speaking on the development an official of the power ministry noted that the expectation was that following the granting of amnesty and the declaration of cease-fire by the militants acts of vandalism would cease. The official who did not want his name in print disclosed that power generation from the operating plants had earlier recorded marked improvement, registering an average 2400 MW in the last 4 days, adding however that with the current development it will drop and worsen the load-shedding regime.
â€œPHCN is in dire straits as we speak and at this rate, payment of salaries will soon become an issue because the public utility cannot collect outstanding electricity bills from customers who do not have power supply,â€ the official disclosed.Â Vanguard gathered that following the rains, output from the three hydro power stations including Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba are generating 700 MW.