By Yemie Adeoye
THE Federal Government has disclosed that the ailing power sector gulped a whooping N78.969 billion in 2009 in an effort to realise the failed 6000 Megawatts of power targeted at the end of last year

Minister of Power Dr Lanre Babalola in a discussion with the Permanent Secretary Ministry of power Alhaji Ibrahim Sali during a retreat by the Ministry recently

This is coming  just as Nigerians continued  to lament over incessant power outages and in most cases total power failure, a situation which is taking  toll on all aspects of the Nigerian economy.

The disclosure was contained in report made available o Vanguard after the Ministerial press briefing put together by the ministry of power to update and present an assessment of power sector performance in 2009.

The briefing was imperative in view of the fact that the government missed its power target of 6000MW. It was also  to highlight the strategy and plan that has been adopted for improvement in electricity supply in the immediate future.

According to the ministerial report,  total appropriation to the Ministry and its Agencies was N78.969 billion  after  N6.2 billion had been deducted as a result of the transfer of Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) to the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.

The report said “We also wish to highlight the strategy and plans that have been adopted for improvement  of electricity supply as we advance with the goal to build on existing generation, thereby building for the short-term, medium-term and long-term.”

On the power sector intervention fund , the report said that the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) Steering Council which was established in 2009 as the apex body responsible for policy decisions and approvals for NIPP projects approved a total sum of N43.292billion for the PHCN Successor companies as a grant to undertake necessary repairs and maintenance towards achieving  6000MW by December 2009. This sum was released in October 2009 as Emergency Power Intervention Fund.

“As at 1 January 2009 actual generation distributed was 2,789.6MW, idle capacity due to gas and water limitation was 1,326MW and 5,28MW respectively.  Due to pipeline vandalism actual generation dropped to about 1766MW between June and August 2009.

“Thereafter, generation rose to over 3,700MW by December 2009 through aggressive repairs and rehabilitation of PHCN existing plants, increased capacity from existing IPPs and collaboration with the Ministry of Petroleum/NNPC to boost gas supply.  From the aggressive rehabilitation and repair exercise, PHCN was able to recover a total of about 582.4MW.

“The aggregate installed available generation capacity of the PHCN plants towards the end of 2009 was about 5,272.2MW with the gas-fired plants contributing about 73 per cent of the generation mix.

PHCN at the time was deemed to be capable of generating over 3,700MW of power subject to resolving the constraints on gas supply. This report shows over 1,000MW idle capacity due to gas shortfall to power plants in December 2009, which made peak generation to fall to about 2,709MW from over 3,700MW that was supplied on 24 December 2009.

While the highest generation attained remained 3,710MW and was achieved on 24 Dec.2009, the installed available capacity remains 5,226.6MW as at 31 Dec. 2009, the highest installed available capacity attained  5,522.5MW as at 23 December 2009, the highest actual generation capacity attained stood at 3,710MW as at 23 December .2009.

“In effect what this means is that there was enough capacity to generate over 5,000MW but gas inadequacy constrained generation to 3,710MW, which is the highest generation achieved in 2009. This compares positively to the last highest generation of 3,774MW achieved in August  2005.”

“In the area of transmission the report stated that in an effort to ensure that the transmission network had enough capacity to evacuate and wheel electricity generated, a number of projects were awarded.

In January 2009 transmission capability at 330/132KV was 6,845MVA, which increased to about 9,245MVA (7,396MW) by December 2009. At 132/33KV the capacity was 8,275MVA in January 2009 and it increased to 9,415MVA (7,532MW) by December 2009.

“This report also shows the strategic projects that were earmarked for wheeling the set target of 6,000MW in 2009. With the completion of the projects in 2010 an additional capacity to wheel about 1,886MW will be added” the ministerial report stressed.

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