By Ndubuisi Micheal Obineme
Lagos – March 20th, 2017, Egbin hosted a media tour for Nigerian journalists in order to provide valuable insight on the challenges and success stories recorded so far. The objective was to globally expose and showcase the capabilities the plant has possessed in power generation to the entire nation. Oil and Gas Republic Publication was among the media organization invited to do a media tour at the power plant.
Egbin Power Plant is located at Ikorodu, a city in north-east Lagos State, Nigeria. It is located along the Lagos Lagoon and shares a boundary with Ogun State. Ikorodu is the fastest growing and prosperous area near the Lagos metropolis, owing in part to the influx of people from Ikorodu’s surrounding towns and villages attracted by the town’s proximity to Lagos.
The Plant is the largest power generating station in Nigeria and one of the largest in the West African sub-region with an installed capacity of 1,320 MW consisting of 6 Units of 220MW each. Not only by the integrity of its generating capacity, but also because of the quality of industry professionals working in the plant.
Egbin Power Plc was handed over to KEPCO Energy Resource Limited (KERL) in November 2013 by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) as part of the Nigerian Federal Government power sector privatization program. Despite the wide-ranging challenges and increased operating costs, KERL has turned around the plant and operated the assets efficiently and satisfactorily, investing substantially in the plant since take over.
Some key factors has been highlighted and has become a barrier of setting a new milestone in the Nigerian power sector which has also hindered Egbin to fully utilize its energy potentials.
Given that the electric power sector is an unbroken interconnected chain of activities from generation to transmission to distribution to end users at homes, offices and industries, its alarming liquidity challenge certainly becomes one of the common issues in the sector.
The lack of access to funding is a major issue to promoting investment in the sector. As we all know that every country has challenges and the power sector in Nigeria has its own challenges, and one of the challenges that we are currently facing is the issue of funding. The investment in the power sector requires huge amount of funds, noting that the non-availability of adequate fund constituted a hurdle to speedy development of the sector.
To addressing these liquidity challenge, all players should call for more investment and stick to the specified rules and regulation governing the Nigerian power sector.
Sabotage of gas pipelines has decommissioned power plants and their ability to provide adequate power supply.
According to the Minister’s statement at the 12th Monthly Power Sector and Stakeholders Meeting in Ibadan, he said, sabotage of gas to power plants has also created debt problem, shortfall in power expectation, and therefore, shortfall in cash recovery.
“And we see that they pay more when the power is more stable. “Now, the reason why I have gone through this is just to reiterate that all of us have an understanding of the problems and all of us have different roles to play in solving those problems,” he added.
But the visits by the Vice President of Nigeria to the Niger Delta region is a welcome development as the VP engages the communities and negotiating with the militants to stop the vandalism while the issues that agitate them can be treated and resolved soonest.
Transmission Company Of Nigeria (TCN) is in charge of transmission and balancing the system throughout the country. On a recent report at Egbin, the generating capacity of the plant is 1, 320 MW but it came down to 1,100 MW because at that time, TCN could not take the power because of the issues in their systems. In the control room at Egbin, you will see just 2 units running simply because gas is not always available and TCN’s technical issues. They have a system that is older than Egbin power plant.
Breaching the gap and improving the management system, TCN should bring a lot of educated and experienced professionals that knows very much about transmission and distribution systems in and out. In doing this, there will be improvement in the system that has been declined over the past years.
Obsolete equipment is among the key factors affecting the smooth operation of the company. Giving an update on the activities of the company, this is the first time since inception of the power plant that it will achieve the feat because of the continuing investment and upgrade activities on the plant by the new investors- Sahara Power Group and Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).
Over the past years, the plant hit the 1000mw mark for barely two hours and never attained it again until now; and that prior to the privatization and handover of the plant in November 2013, Egbin averaged generation of below 500mw due to the dismal state of its six units which at its lowest point, only two of the six units were operational.
Prior to the privatization of the plant in November 2013; most of the auxiliaries like the demineralization plant were not functional, spare parts necessary for plant operation and preventive maintenance were unavailable and that most of the equipment were obsolete. To continue enjoying and increasing the plant capacity, the equipment should be upgraded to latest technological solutions.
With a population surpassing 170 million people, Nigeria targets an ambitious 20,000MW of electricity generation by the year 2020 and to rank among the top 20 economies in the world. Having the right pricing is an essential requirement for success. Balancing between a cost reflective tariff and an affordable tariff is one of the biggest challenges facing the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).
Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), being the regulator for the industry has the mandate to approve tariffs. In an effort to make electricity tariffs more affordable, NERC should provide a cost reflective tariff for the operators based on prudent costs and create an enabling environment, while at the same time protect the interest of electricity customers to ensure they get value for money.
Check out the magazine below which we produced for Egbin Power Plc, after the successful media tour.