Nigeria has achieved a new high in power generation when it recorded for the first time in history 4,307.7 megawatts plus 170 megawatts which serves as spinning reserve, bringing the total quantum of power to 4,477.7 megawatts.
The new peak exceeds the record level of 4,237 megawatts achieved on Monday, August 6, 2012, by 240.7 megawatts. “The good news is that every power generated is wheeled comfortably”, said the Minister of Power, Prof Bart Nnaji, in an email message to the staff of the Ministry of Power and agencies under it like the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
In August, 2010, when Nigeria generated for the first time 3,800 megawatts, the system collapsed within a few minutes because the transmission infrastructure was poorly maintained.
Former PHCN’s Executive Director, Mr. Simeon Atakulu, who was also former Chief Executive Officer of the Egbin Power station in Ikorodu, Lagos State, said: “It is significant that the new record in generation has been set even with the 1,200 megawatts Egbin plant, the nation’s flagship power generator, doing only 600 megawatts because it is undergoing routine maintenance. This means we have a spare power capacity of over 300 megawatts”.
It is understood that the new output increase came from the 600-megawatt Shiroro Hydro Station in Niger State, which ironically a section of the media falsely reported at the weekend to have been shut down by a group of junior workers over controversial pension claims.
Disclosing that the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), has been increasing gas supply to power stations in accordance with the directive of President Goodluck Jonathan and Petroleum Resources Minister Diezani Allison-Madueke, the Power Minister said the quantum of power available to Nigerians would increase further before the month runs out.
Nnaji stated that one unit of 112.5 megawatts at the Omotosho plant of the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) in Ondo State will start to run this month, adding that he would soon travel to Ugheli in Delta State in preparation for the addition of 200MW from the Delta Power Plant later this month.
One unit of 112.5 megawatts would be commissioned next month at the NIPP plant at Ihonvbe on the outskirts of Benin, Edo State, with another unit of the same capacity scheduled to start power supply in October, the same month one unit of 112.5 megawatts of the second phase of the Geregu plant in Kogi State will be commissioned.
While praising the staff of agencies under the Ministry of Power for “ their hard work and commitment and patriotism even in very challenging circumstances many Nigerians may not fully appreciate now, Nnaji asked them not “to rest on their laurels yet because power development still has a long way to go in our dear country”.
Comparing the two largest economies in Africa, the Minister noted that South Africa, with a population of 47 million produces 40,000 megawatts while Nigeria, with some 167 million people, generates less than 5,000 megawatts.
He advised both the PHCN and NIPP staff members not to be carried away by public adulation in the wake of a remarkable improvement in electricity across the nation since last month.
“The only time any of us can rest”, he asserted, “is only when the 167 million Nigerians can take constant and quality power for granted, as it is the case in many countries of the world.”