In spite of the fact that the country has more thermal (gas-fired) plants than hydro plants with a 70-30 ratio, shortage of gas supply to these plants have greatly impeded their ability to generate electricity. According to data released for the third quarter of 2016, the privatised thermal power generating plants, all combined, could only supply 30% of generated electricity in the country.
The issue of vandalism of pipelines in the Niger Delta weighed heavily on the thermal plants during the specified period. Although tempers in the Niger Delta calmed relatively in the last quarter, the volatility of the situation continues to put the gas plant operators on edge.
According to the data made available for the third quarter, some thermal plants could only manage to produce half of their installed generations capacities. These are Delta, Geregu 1, Sapele 1, Egbin and Olorunsogo plants.
The average contribution of the privatised thermal plants to the national grid during the period was 28.29% having averaged 27.42%, 28.25% and 29.22% in July, August and September respectively.
The hydro power generating plants on the other hand, contributed more to the country’s electricity grid. They provided 34.25% of the country’s electricity in the period. The National Integrated Power Plants contributed 13.42% while the independent power producers supplied 24.05 per cent of electricity in the third quarter.
The data further highlights the need to seek definite solutions to the issues of the Niger Delta. Stability in the region remains pivotal to thermal plants generating to their full capacity and taking power generation towards 6000 megawatts.
The Managing Director, Frontier Oil Limited, one of the major suppliers of gas to the gas-fired power plants, Mr. Dada Thomas said,
Why are people blowing up gas lines? It is suicide to blow up gas lines and it can be classified as an economic sabotage, because when you do that, everybody suffers. People in the Niger Delta suffer, those in Lagos suffer as well as others in Kano, for such acts cut down electricity supply.