Power remains the key driver of every economy, however, Nigeria has suffered power deficit despite huge funds. GRACE FADAHSON writes on the efforts of Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) in boosting power supply in the Niger Delta.
Power generation in Nigeria dates back to 1886 when two generating sets were installed to serve the then Colony of Lagos. By an Act of Parliament in 1951, the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN) was established and in 1962, the Niger Dams Authority (NDA) was also established for the development of hydroelectric power. A merger of the two organisations in 1972, resulted in the formation of the National Electric PowerAuthority (NEPA) which was saddled with the responsibility of generating, transmitting and distributing electricity for the whole country. In 2005, as a result of the power sector reform process, NEPA was unbundled and renamed Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
The Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act was signed into law in March 2005, enabling private companies to participate in electricity generation, transmission, and distribution. The government unbundled PHCN into 11 electricity distribution companies (DisCos), six generating companies (GenCos), and a transmission company (TCN). The Act also created the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) as an independent regulator for the sector.
At present, the Federal Government has fully divested its interest in the six GenCos while 60 per cent of its shares in the 11 DisCos, have been sold to the private operators. The Transmission Company still remains under government ownership. The generation companies created following the unbundling of PHCN are:
The generation sub-sector presently includes 23 grid-connected generating plants in operation with a total installed capacity of 10,396 MW (available capacity of 6,056 MW) with thermal based generation having an installed capacity of 8,457.6MW (available capacity of 4,996 MW) and hydropower having 1,938.4 MW of total installed capacity with an available capacity of 1,060 MW. This comprises of the privatised GenCos, Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and the generating stations under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP).
IPPs are power plants managed by the private sector prior to the privatisation process. These include Shell operated – Afam VI (642MW), Agip operated – Okpai (480MW), Ibom Power, NESCO and AES Barges (270MW).
In its effort to increase the level of power generation, the Federal Government in 2004, incorporated the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) as a public sector funded emergency intervention scheme. The company has a mandate to manage the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) which essentially involves the construction of identified critical infrastructure in the generation, transmission, distribution and natural gas supply sub-sectors of the electric power value chain.
The Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) was established as a fast track power sector infrastructure development company in 2005 with a mandate to manage the power projects under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) scheme of the three -tiers of Nigerian government (Federal, States and Local). Its establishment is an emergency intervention scheme to tackle the deficit in power generation and expand power sector infrastructure.
The NDPHC key mandate was to develop 10 power plants with a designed ISO capacity of 5,067MW, 102 transmission lines and substation projects and over 291 distribution- injection sub-stations and gas infrastructure with over 22,000 completely self protected transformers among other critical projects.
So far, it’s said that the company has completed about 4,015MW of this designed capacity representing about 80 per cent of this mandate and made remarkable input in Transmission, Distribution and Gas infrastructure.
In power generation, eight of 10 power plants in the NIPP portfolio, along with associated gas transmission metering/receiving infrastructure projects to support commercial operation, have been commissioned and connected to the national grid contributing over 22,000,000kW of energy daily subject to availability of gas.
NDPHC has continued to operate these power plants in the interest of the Nigerian economy, despite undesirable security challenges and an accumulated debt owed it by the electricity market.
The NDPHC has contributed about 30 per cent of power requirement in the grid despite the huge debt of over N121billion owed NDPHC by the Electricity Market.
Speaking on the concerted efforts of the NDPHC at revitalising power in the Niger Delta, Amb Agbonkpolor splendour, director general, Network of Nigeria Civil Society Organisations, eulogised the efforts of NDPHC ‘s management, emphasising that there had been a renewed vigour to live up to the expectations of the Niger Delta people and in effect, the larger society and nation at large.
He specifically commended Mr Chiedu Ugbo, the managing director, for what he termed pragmatic initiatives and implantation strategies which have not only boosted power in the South South region, but indeed boosted the economic capacity of the region through improved Infrastructure and power.
NPDHC has over 3,000 MW of generation capacity availability for deployment if the grid permits and this represents the best opportunity for the rapid improvement of power supply to the teaming Nigerians. It is important to note that completed power plants include 750MW Olorunsogo II, 450MW (Ogorode)Sapele, 434MW Geregu II, 450MW Omotosho II, 450MW Ihovbor, 450MW Alaoji, 563MW Calabar and 225MW Gbarain.
The completed ones include 225MW Omoku, 338MW Egbema and 530MW Alaoji steam machines that would wrap up the total available capacity of the plants to 1, 774MW on full completion.
Many of the NIPP power plants on the national grid, also provide ancillary services like spinning reserve to support the system operations, a contribution critical for stabilising the national grid.
Mr Chiedu Ugbo, the managing director, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) said the company has completed 2,194km of 330kV transmission lines and 809km of 132kV transmission lines.
This represents an increase of 46 per cent and 13 per cent respectively over the pre-NIPP status of grid infrastructure. A total of 10 new 330/132kV substations and seven new 132/33kV substations have also been completed with several other existing substations significantly expanded thereby adding 5,590MVA and 3,313MVA capacity to the national grid.
The NIPP contributions to the Transmission grid system have transformed the hitherto radial 330kV/132kV grid into a more robust grid system with significant provision of alternative power flow routes which now serve as redundancies and which has resulted in a more reliable and stable Nigerian grid.
Notable in these respects are the commissioning of the over 220km long 330kV Double Circuit (DC) lines providing alternative thermal power into Abuja and from Geregu, through a new Lokoja substation, a new Gwagwalada substation into the existing TCN Katampe and Apo substations with several significant expansion works on existing substation developments along this route.
Another feat is the remarkable 330kV Transmission backbone that provides several 330kV DC transmission lines from Power plant zones in Calabar, Alaoji, Afam and Ikot Abasi into a switching hub at Ikot Ekpene. From this hub, long DC lines emanate to flow power from these southern based power generation centers to Jos and the far North East through Ugwuaji in Enugu and Makurdi, Benue State. With the commissioning of about 95 per cent of this grid backbone in November 2016 by the present administration, the Nigerian Transmission Grid bid a firm and final goodbye to the radial grid era and entered into a new hitherto unattainable level of grid security, reliability and stability that has seemed elusive since the commencement of Nigerian grid operations in 1969. The completion of majority of the balance of works on this grid backbone is fast going on and scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017. The statistics of NIPP contribution to overall transmission system growth and reliability with improvements in transformation capacity is progressively increasing each day as the balance of NIPP Transmission projects are being delivered.
The company has invested in critical transmission and distribution infrastructure needed to evacuate the electricity generated into the national grid and distribute the same to end-users. Such projects, as outlined by the NDPHC, include the expansion of 36 Transmission Company of Nigeria’s 330kV and 132kV substations across the country.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, while fielding questions from journalists, said that the country now has the capacity to generate not less than 7,000 Megawatts (MW) of electricity.
Fashola added that transmission chain had also developed capacity to transmit the same megawatts.
“Today we have the capacity to generate over 7,000MW, we can transmit also over 7,000 MW but we cannot distribute more than 5,200MW now. So, if there is no distribution demand, you don’t load on your 7,000 because your supply is informed by your demand.
“But it’s there, so it is like goods that you keep in your warehouse, except that you cannot store power. So, what we are actually doing is that some of the GENCOs that have a capacity to produce 100, control center is telling them put only 60. So, that is how we are managing it, because of the real demand at final end based on insufficient distribution capacity.”
The minister, who said the country was well over the problem of electricity generation, however noted that the challenge is the issue of distribution.
“Two years ago, the distribution companies were saying they did not have enough power to sell, but today the story has changed. It is not as painful as it was two years ago, people are now using their generators for shorter periods, buying smaller quantities of fuel for the purposes of powering their generators.
“We are getting longer periods of energy supply, you will see on the diesel purchasing index that the country‘s total use of diesel is coming down,’’ the minister said.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has warned that the rainy season will pose a major challenge to the transmission and distribution arms of the power industry.
According to him, although the rains will benefit hydro power stations, it will also pose some difficulties in the running of the distribution and transmission networks.
Fashola’s warning to operators in the sector was captured in the minutes of the 27th monthly meeting for stakeholders in the industry, which was obtained by our correspondent from the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in Abuja.
The minister, “advised operators to prepare for the faint season, which would provide more water supply to the hydro stations and pose major challenges to transmission and distribution networks.”
In this regard, he appealed to the operators to promptly issue notices when there were known damages that would interfere with power supply and send maintenance team out to repair and replace damaged equipment or clear fallen trees.
The minister urged the operators to also send information to the public on multiple platforms of conventional and social media to report faults that they might not be aware of, adding that the operators should painstakingly resolve all customer complaints and provide better services where needed.
On remittances required for the generation of power through the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, the minutes stated that the NBET received only 25.43 per cent payment from the distribution companies for the energy it received from the generation companies for the March 2018 cycle.
It stated that late payments from the January cycle amounting to 2.45 per cent of the March invoice was also received by the NBET, bringing the total payment percentage for February to 27.88 per cent.
The power distribution firms have continued to remit below 30 per cent of what is expected of them by the NBET, a development that has led to severe liquidity crisis in the sector.
“The NBET also received $6.9m in international customers’ payments from the market operator, which was paid to the generation companies,” the minutes added.
In its report, the market operator stated that the Discos received 81.95 per cent of the total energy sent out by the generation firms, while international customers and other direct customers received 8.08 per cent, thereby creating a transmission loss factor of 9.97 per cent in the month of March 2018.
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