The modest gains recorded in the power sector over the past three months are being threatened by the activities of pipelines vandals, which have led to the fall in electricity generation by 356.8 megawatts within the last three weeks.
Power generation climbed to an all-time high of 4,810.7MW on August 25 this year, but latest figures from the Presidential Task Force on Power showed that it had fallen to 4,453.9MW as of September 16.
The Federal Ministry of Power, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and some key agencies in the sector had attributed the brief rise in power generation to the non-interruption of oil and gas pipelines.
The rise, however, was short-lived as it lasted for about three months, after which electricity generation commenced a descent.
Findings by our correspondent showed that power generation had peaked at 4,655.2MW on September 9, but this was not sustained due to vandalism of electricity and oil infrastructure, as it fell to 4,453.9MW seven days later.
In fact, the daily average energy produced by the power generation companies as of September 16 was 3,896.08MW/hour, while the daily average energy sent out was 3,808.86MW/H.
Peak generation capacity was 7,588MW, while the forecasted peak demand for the country was put at 12,800MW.
On September 7, the NERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, inaugurated a 14-man committee to ensure the attainment of 5,000MW for the by the end of the month, stressing that it was part of plans to end the year on 6,000MW milestone.
Amadi had explained that the 14-man industry-wide committee would ensure the recovery of 1,800MW stranded within the network, articulate measures for effective delivery of the stranded power to consumers, and initiate actions to continuously ramp-up generation.
“We are witnessing increase of gas supply to the power plants. This has resulted in the historic 4,800MW generation a few weeks ago. From the report of the System Operator, it is clear that we could have reached 5,000MW if we did not have load rejection by the distribution companies and some frequency control issues as gas supply improved,” the NERC boss had stated.
But officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the FMP told our correspondent on Friday that the actions of vandals and the resultant killing of security operatives posed a great threat to power generation and might derail plans to hit 6,000MW by year end.
They explained that the recent disruption of fuel and gas pipelines by vandals had dragged down power generation and affected transmission negatively as some infrastructure belonging to the Transmission Company of Nigeria were vandalised by unknown persons.
On Thursday, The PUNCH reported how seven operatives of the Department of State Services were killed in the Ishawo area of Ikorodu, Lagos during an encounter with suspected pipeline vandals around 7pm on Tuesday.
Officials of the NNPC told our correspondent that the activities of the vandals had direct impact on not just the oil and gas industry, but also on the power sector.
They described the recent deadly acts as alarming and noted that they might rubbish the gains recorded in the oil, gas and power sectors.
A senior official of the corporation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “You are aware of the recent deadly activities of vandals and how they reportedly killed DSS men. That alone has direct and indirect impacts on the two (oil and power) sectors.
“So, the drop in generation can as well be attributed to the acts because we’ve been saying it. Even before the recent one, which happened on Tuesday, there had been similar cases in past weeks.
“However, the NNPC has called on the attention of the Pipelines Products Marketing Company to the issue and has directed that the matter be looked into immediately.”
When contacted, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr. Ohi Alegbe, explained that the corporation had over the years condemned the activities of vandals.
“This is what we’ve been saying over the years that vandals are sabotaging not just our pipelines, but the entire economy. The impact is not just felt by players in this sector, it is felt all over. The right agencies shall be contacted and we believe the issue shall be adequately looked into,” he stated.
A director in the Power ministry, Mr. Timothy Oyedeji, explained that vandalism was highly detrimental to the progress being made in the area of electricity generation.
“We may not make tangible headway if vandalism continues and that is why the ministry has been calling on Nigerians to see power assets as their own,” he stated.