Nigerians may witness total blackout by next week as the country’s biggest power station, Egbin Power Plc, has announced plans to shut its operation over rising debts totaling about N110 billion owed by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET).

Managing Director of Egbin Power Plc, Mr. Dallas Peavey, at an interactive session with Energy Correspondents in Lagos, Wednesday, said the recent improvements in electricity supply to homes and industrial users may be short-lived due to several challenges.

Peavey said the non-settlement of the N110 billion debts, inadequate gas supply and inefficiency in the operations of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), among other constraints, was threatening its operations.

Egbin, which is located in Lagos, was acquired in 2013 by Kepco Energy Resource Limited in collaboration with its technical partner, Korea Electric Power Corporation, during the privatisation of the successor companies carved out of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). Egbin, with an installed capacity of 1,320 megawatts (MW) consisting of six units of 220MW each, generates more than a quarter of the total electricity in the country but gas constraints and liquidity challenges have since dropped its generation capacity to 342MW as at yesterday.

A worried Peavey said the plant was being forced to gradually shutdown due to the adverse effect of grid instability that endangers its turbines and gas supply hitches threatening its operation.

The Egbin boss lamented that 70 per cent of electricity generated by Egbin cannot be evacuated to the grid system on account of weak transmission lines.

He said the company had attained 1,100MW out of the installed capacity of 1,320MW, adding that the grid system constantly rejects power.

“We are constrained and limited to generate about 350MW daily due to both TCN system operations’ constraints and inadequate gas supply issues. Sometimes, when you get good news from TCN that you can increase your generation, we will be confronted with gas shortage and when there is gas, you have TCN issues. The situation is that bad,’’ he said.

Author: Yemi Olarinre