3 weeks after, electricity supply deteriorates

PHCN power installation

Businesses and homes have continued to groan under a deteriorating power supply across many parts of the nation as a result of the massive disengagement of technical personnel at the various electricity distribution zones in the country by the new investors.

It was also gathered that inadequate load allocation from the generation companies is responsible for the drastic dip in power supply in parts of the country.

For instance, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (Ikeja Disco) that needs 900 megawatts (MW) on the average now receives 300MW.

As at Thursday, the available generation capacity was put at 3,400MW, as some of the power plants had low output while some were out. Egbin had 537MW, Afam VI 428MW, Okpai 458MW, Kainji 112MW, and Jebba 451MW. Alaoji, Afam IV and V, Sapele, Omoku and Ibom plants were out.

“If there is insufficient megawatt output from generation, then the Discos will not have enough to distribute to customers,” a source from one of the Discos in Lagos said.

A power facility:power supply deteriorates
A power facility:power supply deteriorates

It would be recalled that the week following the handover of the power infrastructure to the new investors was greeted with a gale of sacking of technical and support staff responsible for faults clearing at various installations.

As a result of this, fault clearing at the distribution networks has been stalled, resulting in lack of power supply to both businesses and homes.

Information reveals that many of the transformers across the country are faulty and because there are no linesmen to clear the faults, power supply to businesses and homes has drastically reduced.

Most places that were receiving 10 to 12 hours of power supply before the action by the new investors now hardly get three hours of electricity daily. In some areas, there are no supplies for three to four days.

It is believed in many quarters that the new owners made a very wrong move in sacking the workers in one fell swoop without due consideration for the useful expertise and skills of some of them.

Last week, it was reported that the skills gap created by the exercise and the resulting increase in downtime, which is the time between when a fault occurs and when it is cleared, had been identified as the cause of the worsening power supply in many parts of the country.

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“Since the Discos decided to lay off some of the workers, it has affected power supply as downtime has increased. If three people were working in an area and you sacked two people, it means the task would increase for the remaining one person,” an industry analyst had said.

According to him, the current situation was part of the teething problems, adding that the new investors would have to do a skill gap analysis to ascertain the skills that would be required to fill the vacuum created by the lay-off.

In Kano, as in other parts of the country, BusinessDay gathered that the optimism which greeted the recent physical handover of electricity infrastructure to private concerns is now turning into pessimism, as electricity supply has continued to decline since the handover.

According to industry sources, the declining supply being recorded in the area is occasioned chiefly by reduction in allocation of the electricity from the national grid.

It was also attributed to the disengagement of most of the employees of the company responsible for the maintenance of the electricity infrastructure which compounded the problem of limited amount of electricity currently being supplied to the state.

Confirming the development, BaffaUsman, senior manager of Sahelian Power SPV Limited, buyer of Kano Electricity Distribution Company, said the situation was primarily as a result of the drop in supply from the generation companies.

“Yes, I can confirm to you that in the past few days there has been a drastic drop in the amount of power we are receiving from the national generation companies. The problem, from what we learnt, was caused by shortage in gas supply to the generation plants across the country, but as I am talking to you now, the situation has improved,” he explained.

Commenting on the implication of the situation on businesses in the state, Umar Suleiman, immediate past chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Kano branch, described the situation as worrisome.

He said incessant electricity outages being experienced in the state has continued to be the bane of manufacturing companies there, and called for urgent measures to address the outages.

.A Businessday Report. Read More here: http://businessdayonline.com/2013/11/power-supply-crisis-bites-harder-as-fault-clearing-stalls-generation-dips/

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