By Constance Imasuen
The Power Generation Companies of Nigeria (GenCos) have pledged to sustain provision of adequate power in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mrs Joy Ogaji, Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC) made this known in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.
Ogaji said that GenCos were working together to ensure the sustainability of adequate power generation during the Coronavirus crisis.
She said that GenCos had reiterated their commitment and readiness to improve power generation from Thermal and Renewable (Hydro Power Plants) sources across the country.
“This is evidence in the increase in power generation which has averaged 4,024MW since the index case was recorded on Feb. 27.
‘GenCos are altering their business practices and developing strategies to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To this end, GenCos have established telework protocols to ensure that non-essential, non-critical employees work from home.
“While implementing continuation of services, GenCos plan to ensure operations and service delivery, continue to prevent more economic disruption,”she said.
The Executive Secretary said that the GenCos have strong track record of preparing for numerous emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic and countless types of emergencies.
According to her, this is evident in ramping up to a total available capacity of over 7,500MW and gross generation installed capacity of over 13,000MW.
She said that in preparation for the current situation, the GenCos have commenced close talk with the Federal Government and other power sector stakeholders to ensure that plants have the resources needed for generation of power.
“GenCos are ready to partner with the government and its relevant stakeholders to evolve strategies that will fast track the quest for optimal utilisation of available and recover unavailable installed generation capacity.
“This can make the nation to be listed on the roll call of countries with adequate and stable electricity supply in the world,’” she said.
Ogaji said that there was however, shortage of gas supply for thermal generation companies as thermal power from gas and steam turbines accounted for about 80 per cent of the country’s power generation.
She explained that gas unavailability hindered power generation in Thermal Power Plants and that gas cost constituted over 60 per cent of wholesale electricity tariffs.
“Hence, what goes on in the gas sector has huge implications for the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI),” the executive secretary said.
She further said that suppliers demanded upfront payment before they made gas available and that GenCos could not afford to meet the request given the liquidity issues in the NESI.
Ogaji said that the GenCos were willing to invest to increase the capacity of power plants and provide necessary investments to cater for maintenance and repairs.
“Generation Companies are willing to work with relevant stakeholders such as the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).
“With oversight over gas resources, to develop novel approaches in making gas available for generation companies.
” Gas and transmission (evacuation) are critical and urgent needs outside the control of the generation companies. It calls for urgent government intervention.
“GenCos are corporate citizens with zeal and are willing to build the nation together with the government,” she said.
Ogaji also said that aside gas molecules and transmission, GenCos have other challenges which government was resolving.
She noted that there was need for an apolitical enabling environment through the design and implementation of viable policies, strong and experienced leadership and coordination of the sector.
“This requires effective collaboration and coordination across interrelated Ministries.
”If answers to GenCos most pressing and pertinent questions such as: can we be fully dispatched?
“Can we get gas and who is paying for the power can be tackled, then, power supply will be a thing of the past,”she said.
Ogaji said that the APGC would continue to work with power sector stakeholders to gather and share up-to-date information.
“Best practices and guidance to support them in safely maintaining operational integrity.
‘”It is our desire that the pandemic be resolved as soon as possible,” Ogaji said.
She commended federal government efforts through; Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation(WHO).(NAN)