Seventeen gas-fired power plants in the country have been struggling to utilise up to 30 per cent of their combined installed generation capacity, our correspondent has gathered.
The nation generates most of its electricity from gas-fired power plants, while output from hydro power plants makes up the rest.
But electricity generation from gas power plants has declined, with Shiroro hydro power plants producing the highest amount of electricity in recent days.
Total power generation stood at 3,398.4MW as of 6am on Tuesday, out of which 1,187MW was produced by the three hydro power plants in the country.
Generation from Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro hydro plants stood at 255MW, 391MW and 541MW, respectively.
According to the data, the capacity of units on bar of 17 gas-fired power stations was 2,612MW on Tuesday out of a total installed capacity of 9,234.8MW.
The plants are Egbin, Delta, Omotosho I and II, Olorunsogo I and II, Sapele I and II, Afam IV-V, Afam VI, Geregu I and II, Okpai, Alaoji, Ihovbor, Ibom and Odukpani.
A total of 737.5MW of electricity could not be generated as of 6am on Tuesday as a result of gas constraints, the ministry said, adding that 2,767.7MW was idle because of low load demand by the distribution companies.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission recently expressed concern about the over-dependence on gas-fired power plants for the generation of electricity in the country.
NERC, in its latest quarterly report, said gas-fired thermal plants dominated the electricity generation mix, accounting for 81 per cent of the energy generated in the first quarter of this year.
The nation has three hydro power plants, namely: Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro, while 24 are gas-fired.
“The commission is concerned that the apparent over-dependence on gas-fired/thermal plants may pose supply risk for the Nigerian electricity industry as vandalism of gas pipelines could result in total shutdown of the grid,” NERC said in the report.
The President, Nigerian Gas Association, Mr Dada Thomas, said last month that it was estimated that about 1,000MW of the Independent Power Plants’ capacity was idle due to a lack of gas delivery.
He said turning natural gas into a profit-making venture required huge investments in infrastructure that would address the five component areas of gas availability, gas affordability, deliverability, funding and the legal and regulatory framework.
He said, “Even with obvious challenges, companies are making significant strategic investments in gas pipelines and production to power the IPPs and industrial customers.”