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Nationwide blackout looms as GenCos threaten to shut down power plants

Nationwide blackout looms as GenCos threaten to shut down power plants
August 17
13:02 2018
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Joy Ogaji, executive secretary of the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), says the power firms might shut down plants over the inability of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to transmit available volume of electricity generated into the national grid.

In a statement on Thursday, Ogaji said the generation companies (GenCos) were increasingly facing lower capacity utilisation with the fact that they operate their turbines/machines far from the baseload settings.

She added that load shedding and power fluctuations in the country have resulted in low efficiency in the power system.

According to her, operating the plants outside baseload conditions has damaging effects on the plants and can lead to more consumption of gas for thermal plants, which is an extra cost on their part.

Ogaji said in April alone, the TCN could only transmit an average of 3985.15MW, 53 per cent of the available capacity of 7484.88MW produced daily by the GenCos.

“All thermal and hydro power plants are designed to operate optimally and efficiently at baseload. Operating these plants outside baseload conditions is leading to a reduction in efficiency, with implications for an increase in consumption of gas for thermal plants by as much as 15 to 20 per cent (extra cost not recognised by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) nor captured in the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO),” the statement read.

“Generally, the damaging effects include thermal stress on steam turbine blades, creep of compressor and turbine blades, cracks on exhaust sleeves, irregular heating and cooling cycles of hot gas path components, cracks in ceramic tiles of the combustion chamber, defective gas control valves due to wear and tear, among other effects.

“The grid cannot conveniently take over 4500MW without rejecting load. Generation above 5,000 MW may either be lost or rejected either by the Distribution Companies (DisCos) or the Transmission Service Provider’s (TSP) inabilities largely due to infrastructural challenges like line cuts and transformer faults and unavailability thereby causing grid frequency to be very high.”

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