The nation’s power grid has collapsed 28 times this year, the highest since 2011, as the quantum of spinning reserve aimed at forestalling such occurrence remains low.
The development, which was exacerbated by the upsurge in militant attacks on oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta that affected gas-fired power plants, worsened the failure being experienced by households and business owners across the country.
Industry data obtained by our correspondent on Friday specifically showed that 22 total collapses and six partial collapses were recorded in March, April, May, June, July, September, October, November and December.
In the whole of 2014 and 2015, the grid collapsed 13 and 10 times respectively, with four partial collapses each.
The latest total system collapse recorded this year was on December 4, and three collapses occurred last month, the report stated.
In June, the grid recorded five total collapses and three partial collapses, the highest in the year. Seven collapses – six were total and one partial – occurred in May.
Three total collapses occurred in April, while two total collapses and one partial collapse were recorded in March. A total of three collapses were recorded in July, September and October.
The total national power generation stood at 2,876.6 megawatts as of 6am on Friday, down from a peak of 5,074.7MW on February 2.
Ten of the nation’s 26 power plants did not generate any megawatts of electricity on Friday.
They were Olorunsogo II, Ibom Power, Alaoji, Afam IV & V, Odukpani NIPP, Trans-Amadi, AES, ASCO, Rivers IPP and Gbarain.
Generation from Egbin, the nation’s biggest power station located in Lagos, stood at 161MW on Friday, down from 1,085MW on March 15 this year.
The increasing gas constraint largely occasioned by recent attacks on pipelines in the Niger Delta has left over 3,500MW of the nation’s power generation capacity idle.
The nation generates the bulk of its electricity from gas-fired power plants, while output from hydro-power plants makes up about 30 per cent of the total generation.
Generation from two of the nation’s hydro-power plants, Shiroro and Jebba, has reduced significantly in recent days.
Shiroro’s output fell to 150MW on Friday, down from 450MW a week ago; Jebba generated 384MW on Friday, compared to 471MW on December 2.
Out of the six power stations meant to provide spinning reserves, only one had actual reserve of 17.4MW as of 6am on Friday, the data showed.
The power stations are Egbin, Kainji, Delta, Olorunsogo II, Geregu II, and Omotosho II, with combined reserve capacity of 155MW.
Spinning reserve is the generation capacity that is online but unloaded and that can respond within 10 minutes to compensate for generation or transmission failure.
The reserve capacity and actual reserve of Egbin and Kainji stood at zero as of Friday, while the capacity and actual reserve of Delta were 40MW and zero, respectively.
Olorunsogo II and Geregu II had reserve capacity of 40MW and 35MW, respectively; while their actual reserves stood at zero.
The actual reserve at Omotosho II stood at 17.4MW out of a reserve capacity of 40MW, the data showed.
Explaining some of the causes of system collapse, the Chief Executive Officer, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Mr. Oladele Amoda, said, “Sometimes, if a machine trips at a generation station and takes out a lot of load, it can cause it. At times, there could be problems on the transmission line. If any of the lines trips off, then there will be a load swing, which will destabilise the system.
“We are supposed to have a generator that is just running on standby so that if there is any chunk of load that is out of the system suddenly, that generator will just take it up and balance the load.” (Punchng.com)