Nigerians risk nationwide blackout as Electricity Generation Companies (GENCOs), on Thursday warn of an impending shutdown of their power plants. The shutdown will happen automatically because the machines are already giving us the signal that they are about to shutdownn, thus the reason for the notice to the general public. The Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Joy Ogaji, who issued the notice to PPREMIUM TIMES, did not say when the shutdown of plants would commence but “we are informing the public so that GENCOs will not be accused of sabotaging the market when it happens,” she said.
GENCOs are blaming the TCN’s inability to fully take up and transmit available volume of electricity generated into the national grid, for the imminent shutdown of the Power generating plants. Other damages include cracks on exhaust sleeves, irregular heating and cooling of cycles of hot gas path components, cracks in ceramic tiles of the combustion chamber, and defective gas control valves due to wear and tear. To save the power sector from collapse, Mrs Ogaji, said the GENCOs have resolved that there is need to shut down the power plants till when the electricity transmission and distribution networks have become efficient enough to take power and fully pay for both their outstanding and current liabilities. She said the GENCOs can no longer sustain the growing operating costs alone, given the level of remittance in the market.
The power ministry is yet to react to the threat by the GENCOs.
GENCOS PROFERS A WAY OUT OF THE IMPENDING BLACKOUT
The impending blackout can be averted if only the Federal Government speeds up the payment of outstanding balance of N213 billion due to the GENCOs. This was among the six conditions the federal government would have to fulfil quickly to avoid the likely hood of them shutting down their operations which they nevertheless said was imminent. They also claimed they wanted capacity payments to them for the period of February 2015, to date; payment for deemed capacity for the period 2013 to date; and the setting up of an effective financing plan which would kick in upon the exhausting of N701 billion payment assurance facility set up by the government to sustain payments of invoices until 2012, when the government estimated the power market would be self-sustaining. They equally explained the importance of their request, stating that “not having an effective financial plan in place will erode whatever gains would be made when the above solutions are implemented.”
Speaking through their umbrella body – (APGC), the GENCOs also explained that contrary to general belief, they have not been better off with the existing financial intervention schemes initiated by the government. “GENCOs without equivocation are stressing the need for government and relevant stakeholders to tackle the operational inefficiency and liquidity challenges plaguing the entire value chain and making the sector unattractive for investment by expediting the process of payment of outstanding balance due to GENCOs under the CBN N213 billion Electricity Market Stabilization Facility. “The payment assurance facility is to sustain payments of invoices till 2021, when the FG projects that the NESI would be self-sustaining,” they said in a statement signed by the Executive secretary of APGC, Dr. Joy Ogaji on Sunday in Abuja.