Minister gives reasons for nationwide blackouts

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The Minister of Power, Engr Abubakar Aliyu has given reasons why Nigerians experienced blackouts in some parts of the country, saying the development was due to the shortage of gas supply to some power plants.

Aliyu disclosed this in a statement on Saturday following an emergency meeting convened by the Minister, on March 14th 2022 towards the restoration of normal supply of electricity supply nationwide and the development of a framework for sustainable improvement of supply.

Aliyu said: “We are pleased to apprise consumers with an update on the progress so far made to address the recent challenges in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry.

“The Nigerian public may please recall that the national grid lost about 1,100MW generation capacity as a consequence of simultaneous disruptions in gas supply to the Okpai, Calabar and the Afam VI power plants.

“The available generation capacity was exacerbated by the ongoing water management regime at the Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro power plants.

“The progress so far made includes, amongst many other initiatives, the following: (i) The gas pipeline affected by acts of vandalism has been restored and the Okpai power plant has resumed power generation and currently contributing an average of 300MW.

(ii) The Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Pl has been directed to enter into fast-track negotiation with NAOC on an interim energy sales agreement with a view to bringing the new Okpai Il power plant on the grid thereby contributing an additional 400MW of generation capacity.

(iii) The “pigging” of the gas pipeline supplying gas to the Odukpani power plant is scheduled for completion on March 21st 2022 thus ramping up generation by about 400MW.

(iv) In order to optimise the capacity utilisation of the power plants owned by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Ltd (NDPHC), the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has approved a special gas pricing for emergency contracting of gas from the Nigerian Gas Marketing Company Ltd. We expect an on-grid improvement of about 800MW generation capacity from the NDPHC plants.

(v) In the medium-term, we have agreed with NGPIC (…a subsidiary of NNPC) on the framework for the overhaul of the Okoloma gas processing plant thereby restoring the full capacity of the 650MW Afam VI combined cycle power plant.

“(vi) While the recent spate of system collapse is regrettable, it was a direct consequence of a snap on a 330kV transmission line.”

He added “The mitigation measures for avoiding such incidences of blackouts are being implemented through several interventions including the Presidential Power Initiative.

“We wish to reassure all electricity consumers that all relevant agencies involved in the restoration of normality in the power supply have been charged to act in the context of the emergency state of the industry. The Federal Ministry of Power shall continue to periodically update the nation on the progress.”