By Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has ordered Nigeria’s three hydro power plants, including the 578.4 megawatts (MW) Jebba hydro power plant; 760mw Kainji plant, and the 600mw Shiroro plant–all situated in Niger State, to remain operational as the rainfalls continue across the country so as to forestall potential flooding of surrounding communities.
NERC, in a regulatory order it put out on its webpage, Thursday explained that going forward, electricity generated from the three hydro power generation companies (Gencos) would be dispatched first before any other.
It explained the Gencos’ generation volumes are now prioritised ahead of those of any other Genco in Nigeria, and that the System Operations (SO) department of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) must be aware of the danger of not prioritising them.
According to the regulatory agency, the SO must within 48 hours write to it to explain any deviation from its order in this regard.
“The meteorological forecasts for 2019 indicated that there would be significant events of flooding across the country and these forecasts have been confirmed with the high incidents of heavy rainfall for long durations across the country.
“A major consequence of this meteorological event on the operations of the three hydropower stations (i.e. Jebba, Kainji and Shiroro) has been high rate of reservoir fill-up which poses extreme environmental risks to lives/property downstream from the plants that could result in submerging entire villages along the riverbanks,” the NERC said.
It noted that its order on this was necessitated by the urgent regulatory intervention required to address the development in the interest of Nigerians and to forestall preventable tragedies that could arise from the non-prioritised dispatch of power from the three hydro power stations.
“The commission notes further that the SO has been apprised of the national security implications of the non-prioritised dispatch of the three hydropower stations by other agencies of government.
“The three hydropower plants are hereby designated as ‘must-run’ powerplants and shall be accorded high priority by the SO in the dispatch of grid connected power plants in Nigeria,” it added.
NERC further explained that: “The ‘must-run’ status of these three hydropower plants shall be implemented in accordance with the daily nomination of these plants.”
According to the commission, the SO shall ensure strict compliance with the terms of this order in the dispatch of power plants in NESI, stressing that the SO must submit detailed written justification to it within 48 hours for any event of deviation/non-compliance to the terms of the order.
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