Ten out of the nation’s 27 power plants saw their total output reduced by 1,664 megawatts on Thursday as a result of low demand by power distribution companies, data obtained from the Transmission Company of Nigeria showed.
Total power generation in the country stood at 3,627.3MW as of 6.00am on Thursday, while 2,029MW could not be generated due to low load demand by Discos and line constraints.
The nation’s three hydropower plants, namely Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro, generated 190MW, 225MW and 200MW respectively as low load demand by Discos reduced their output by 39MW, 270MW and 230MW respectively.
Other plants affected by the Discos’ low demand were Egbin (51MW), the nation’s biggest power station; Olorunsogo I (76MW), Geregu I (55MW); Azura-Edo IPP (153MW), Okpai IPP (95MW), Afam VI IPP (540MW) and Rivers IPP (45MW).
The nation generates most of its electricity from gas-fired power plants, while output from hydropower plants makes up about 30 per cent of the total.
The Nigeria Electricity System Operator, an arm of the TCN, put the nation’s installed generation capacity at 12,910.40MW; available capacity at 7,652.60MW; transmission wheeling capacity at 8,100MW; and the peak generation ever attained at 5,375MW.
The nation’s power grid recorded its eighth total collapse this year on June 30, plunging consumers across the country into a blackout for some hours.
The government-owned TCN said the national grid experienced a system collapse due to high voltage following a massive drop of load by the Discos, adding that “the high voltage also caused a fire incident in the 75MX reactor in the Benin Substation, Sapele Road in Benin City, Edo State.”
But the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors said there was a trend of burnt transmission stations and failed transmission substation incidents in Lagos, Calabar, Abuja, Enugu and Onitsha as of May 8, 2019, due to inadequate transmission protection mechanisms and procedures.
The Discos also expressed displeasure over TCN’s practice of “arbitrary load dumping on power distributors” whenever the TCN was having challenges in managing energy on its grid, causing a myriad of commercial and technical problems.
The grid has continued to suffer system collapse over the years amid a lack of spinning reserve that is meant to forestall such occurrences. The grid suffered four total collapses in January and one each in February, April, May and June, according to the system operator.
Spinning reserve is the generation capacity that is online but unloaded and that can respond within 10 minutes to compensate for generation or transmission outages.
Out of the five power stations meant to provide spinning reserves, none has any actual reserve, with the contracted reserve put at 295MW.
The power stations are Egbin, Delta, Olorunsogo NIPP, Geregu NIPP and Omotosho NIPP.