By Udeme Akpan, Sebastine Obasi & Prince Okafor
LAGOS— Power supply has worsened in Nigeria as the nation has recorded another system collapse.
The system collapse recorded on May 8, 2017 culminated in a significant drop in generation, transmission and distribution of electricity to many parts of the nation.
The Presidency disclosed in its report, yesterday: “System collapse on May 8, 2017 at 1429hrs. System frequency suddenly and sharply dropped from 51.06Hz to 43.37Hz, leading to system collapse.
‘’Prior to collapse, Benin/Egbin 330kV line (cct B6N) was out on fault due to cut sky wire between towers #460 & 461.
“On May 9, 2017, average power sent out was 3425Wh/hour (up by 468MWh/h). The reported gas constraint was 1915MW.
“The reported line constraint was 150MW. The reported high frequency constraint was 59MW. The water management constraint was 260MW. The power sector lost an estimated N1, 144,000,000 on May 09 2017 due to constraints.’’
Investigations showed that the nation recorded two system collapse incidents in April 2017 alone, which also affected supply to consumers.
A study by NOIPolls, an Abuja-based research outfit disclosed that power supply to households in the nation dropped to 30 per cent of installed capacity in the first quarter of this year, from the 37 per cent obtained in last quarter of last year.
The new aggregated power poll results released by NOIPolls for the first quarter of 2017 showed that the lowest power supply to households in Q1, 2017 was observed in January at 21 per cent.
The drop was attributed to the shortage of gas to the power generating companies and low water levels at the hydro power stations.
For Q1 2017, the monthly average cumulative hours of power supply experienced was recorded as 7.5 hours daily in January, which was the lowest. It went up to 9.8 hours in February, which was recorded as the highest.
The results obtained from the poll also revealed that for Q4, 2016, average daily power cumulative supply was 9.6 hours, while in Q1, 2017, it dropped to an average of 8.9 hours daily, indicating a 0.7-point decrease.
A cumulative power supply of 8.9 hours per day was assessed to be a far cry from the standard 24 hours power supply which Nigerian households ought to be experiencing, thus further buttressing the issues inherent in Nigeria’s power sector.
The Federal government had embarked on several power sector interventions in the past, which have failed to yield any sustained positive impact.
Still, in the bid to revive the power sector, the Federal Government, in collaboration with the World Bank, recently set out guidelines for the power sector recovery plans to create a viable industry that is privately run.
While this is a welcome strategy for the revival of the sector, the report posited that in the execution of the plan, constant evaluation with visible milestones within specific time frames should be maintained.
“Although there are evidences of concerted efforts to make the power sector work at optimum level, the sector is still riddled with vast problems ranging from generation to distribution.
“Industry watchers have blamed majority of the crisis bedevilling the power sector on the monopolistic nature of the hydroelectric generating systems. Nigeria is blessed with diverse natural resources which developed nations use to generate abundant electricity but less attention has been paid to those options.”
“Nigeria is one of the least electrified nations and its current power generation, which continues to hover between 3,000 and 5,000 megawatts, cannot keep up with the population growth.
“According to a World Bank report, about 75 million Nigerians lack access to adequate electricity and Nigeria was ranked highest among the countries with electricity access deficit when energy access, efficiency and renewable are on the rise in many developing nations.
“It is against this background that NOIPolls conducted its quarterly survey to assess electricity distribution to Nigerian households in the first quarter of 2017,” it added.
Consumers Lament Poor Supply
The Chairman, Iponri Housing Estate Residents Association, Surulere, Abdul-Rasak Osho, said electricity supply in his area was a bit better than what it used to be. He, however, said that though generation was on the increase, power supply may not necessarily improve in all areas due to transmission constraints. “Supply cannot be regular when majority of the power lines are obsolete; there is no equipment to locate faults and officials find it difficult to identify the exact location where they occur.’’
The Secretary, Ogunlana Community Development Area (CDA), Mr Eniola Taiwo, said the community was badly hit by irregular power supply.
“Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) is punishing us in Ogunlana area; while we see electricity supply in other neighbouring communities, we are always in darkness.
“We have met their staff and promised to pay our monthly bills, but what are we paying for? Darkness”, he said.
He said power supply had not improved in their area. The President, Amuwo-Odofin New Town Landlords and Tenants, Mile 2, Chief Ade-Owas Owabumuwa, however, said electricity supply in the area had improved after demolition of illegal structures in the area by Lagos State Government.
A resident of Lekki Phase 1, Mr Philip Okoro, also said that electricity supply in his area had improved considerably, but noted that transmission constraints on the part of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) was affecting distribution of energy to consumers. “The major problem is with Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). Most of their equipment are outdated and because of lack of fund and neglect, this generated power does not get to consumers.
However, the Transmission Company of Nigeria disclosed that it has installed and energized a 40MVA 132/33kV mobile power transformer at the Damboa Transmission Substation in Bornu State, on May 7th, 2017.
The GM (Public Affairs) TCN, Seun Olagunju, TCN stated that the Damboa Substation, previously a 60MVA 132/33kV capacity transmission station with fully equipped control room and staff quarters was completely destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents on the 4th of July, 2014.