Azura Plant Manager faults BEDC for Poor Outage in Benin
The Operation Manager, Azura – Edo Independent Power Plant, Damian Byrne has said that the current power outage being experienced by residents of Benin, the Edo State capital and its environs will persist following alleged refusal of Benin Electricity Distribution Company, (BEDC) to take the power being generated..
He said the power station had enough power to serve Benin and its environs but noted that the challenge was that the Benin Electricity Distribution Company was not picking the power. “If the power is being distributed as expected, we will be having nothing less than 20 hours of supply to Benin and environs daily”. “The Benin Disco is taking only 75 Megawatts, leaving about 386MW stranded power. This is also affecting our equipment,” he added.
The Manager made the disclosure Monday, when a team of officials from the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (Power Sector) went on a familiarization visit to the power plant in Edo State.
According to Byrne, Azura-Edo IPP is a 461MW Open Cycle Gas Turbine power station being constructed near Benin City in Edo State. It is Phase 1 of a 1,500MW IPP facility located on a 100 hectare site, large enough to accommodate future expansion of the power plant.
The Manager urged the Federal Government to prevail on the distribution company to improve its network to accommodate the evacuation of more power, saying “the plant is guided by the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) contract signed, whereby generation companies have to comply with grid code that requires them to be on what we call Free Governor, which means that they have to only be at a stage that they can supply what the distribution companies need. So if the distribution companies increase their load demand, the generation companies will automatically increase their load supply”.
In a similar vein, the Chief Operating Officer of Benin Generation Company Limited, Ihovbor 460MW Gas Turbine Power Plant in Edo State, Kalu Okpe told the team when they visited the plant that the challenge facing power distribution in the State was the inability of the DisCos to take up available power. He said “if all the operators in the value chain are fully operational, it will be better”.
He disclosed that load was not being picked by the distribution companies because of weak distribution network, saying that “we cannot have a stable grid unless we have an adequate investment on the distribution side. He therefore urged the Government to expand the grid. The expansion according to him, should include the connection of the grid through SCADA as well as a commensurate increase of the spinning reserve.
On his part, an Assistant Director from the General Service Department of the Ministry who led the team, Mr. Yunana Sabo said the President Mohammadu Buhari led Administration was committed to its electricity distribution expansion programme designed to strengthen the distribution network nationwide. He stressed that the Ministry will do everything to ensure incremental, steady and uninterrupted power in the country. He pointed out that the Federal Government had come up with a lot of policies to strengthen power distribution in the country and that the Government is still intervening in the distribution system and that is why it initiated the Eligible Costumers Policy.
Etore E. Thomas