Capacity utilisation drops further over poor gas supply
Manufacturers restate commitment to IPP
Capacity utilization in the nation’s manufacturing sector has dropped further from its low record of about 50 per cent following poor gas supply to industrial layouts from Transmission Company of Nigeria.
Indeed, the power sector in the last few weeks had been at the mercy of militants who blew up gas facilities and further jeopardised the Federal Government’s plan to add another 6000 Mega Watts (MW) by July.
Specifically, the shortage of gas supply to about 25 thermal stations in the country has critically impacted onpower generation levels and further cripples power supply to consumers.
Obviously worried by the abysmal power supply to the industrial clusters, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has restated commitment to implement its plan towards building Integrated Power Projects for industrial clusters.
According to MAN, measures are underway to ensure that it keys into the industrial cluster power generation proposal of National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to ensure adequate electricity supply to industrial clusters.
While grappling with challenges of limited access to foreign exchange, manufacturers described the gas supply to industrial layouts as abysmal and affecting production schedules of manufacturers dependent of gas for production.
MAN had noted that the project which has been pending due to advice by the then Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) that electricity was going to improve was suspended, but added that plans are underway to sign some Memorandum of Understanding with foreign companies that would help build it, in order to aid electricity needs of industrial clusters.
According to MAN, the lingering situation has resulted to a situation where manufacturers resort to generating their own electricity despite the huge cost that is associated with decision of industrial growth and development most especially productivity.
MAN President, Dr. Frank Jacobs in a chat with The Guardian, explained that the association is awaiting a legal framework to be approved by the NERC for the implementation of the scheme.
The Executive Director of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Oduntan, who also confirmed the severe impact of the low generation status on their operations, had told The Guardian recently that the operators were working round the clock to move the sector forward.
“The continued militancy has had a very devastating effect on all the Discos, but it is beyond us, there is nothing we can do about it, other than to pray that the militants will see reason and put national interest first,” he said.
Oduntan said the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers have halted the plans by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to divert more gas to the power stations, adding that the supply programme put in place by the corporation would have added another 6000MW to the national grid by next month.
“We have got everything ready in the area of generation, transmission and distribution, but it is very unfortunate the way things are going now,” he said.
Besides, he expressed optimism that the Federal Government’s effort to develop the hydro power stations (Kanji, Jebba and Shiroro) would buoy power generation in the country.
Also, the Head of Corporate Communications, Ikeja Electric, Felix Ofulue, said the power outage experienced by consumers recently are beyond the control of the Discos, because it was an issue of low energy supply from the national grid.
According to him, “It is just one of the challenges that we face. It is a transmission issue. It is something that we cannot control, we can only manage our own problem, but when it comes to system collapse, we cannot control it.
“There is also apathy from the customers who believed that it is the Discos responsibilities. But the issue is that we cannot give what we don’t have. Indeed, in has impacted negative on the revenue of Discos,”