THE PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES OF THE BAYELSA STATE ELECTRICITY COMPANY AND THE GAS TURBINE IMIRINGI
BY PHILIP EKE YENAGOA
Bayelsa State Government under Sen. DouyeDiri, the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State is making frantic efforts to provide steady power supply to the State.The General Manager of the Bayelsa State Electricity Company, Engineer OliceKemenanabo is heading the project.
The Imiringi Gas Turbine which was built in the 1980s by the old Rivers State Government under the leadership of late Chief MelfordOkilo is presently under-going rehabilitation.He said government believes that uninterrupted power supply is one of the ways to attract investors and create employment for the teaming youths of the State.
Engr. OliceKemenanabo, an experienced electrical engineer, is charged with the responsibility of undertaking a comprehensive review of the power situation in the State with a view to bringing unfettered improvement to the sector who is the Managing Director of the merging Bayelsa Electricity Company Limited (BECL) Engr. Kemenanabo did not disappoint anybody as he put his long years of experience to bear on the job as he is producing the desire result.
He worked tirelessly, still working and will continue to work, sparing no effort in seeing that the needful was done to ensure that the power situation improves and is stabilized in the State. He has been able to handle the admin aspect effectively and then the technical side too, beyond his limit to the extent that it now requires the technical partners’ involvement in the power turbine.
Before he was appointed, the Gas Turbine was in dire strait needing the intervention of managerial skill to revamp, so much has been done even though a lot still needs to be done which was incorporated under Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 on the 5th of June, 2012 at the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja. The Company’s mission statement reads: “Our mission is to develop strategies that will ensure sustained improvement in the standard of living of the citizenry using electricity which offers the richest opportunities to great nationhood within and beyond Bayelsa State.
In carrying out the assignment, BECL shall harness all the generation technologies with particular emphasis on the principles of merit order to ensure sustainability. To that extent, all gas and energy companies shall constitute their core partners since without the feedstock, a generator shall remain a mere engineering monument. However, gas remains a mere engineering monument. However, gas remains their most reliable and sustainable feedstock. It can be argued thatinsufficient power has been and remains a national phenomenon, hence the BECL, headed by Engr. Kemenanabo, an a seasoned administrator has been silently working round the clock to ensure that enough power is generated, internally to complement the supply from the national grid through the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) where BECL holds shares. This is to address the problem of insufficiency of power supply. The target of the BECL rehabilitate the gas turbine and also as a matter of necessity replace new one at Imiringi and make maximum utilization of the required megawatts of the power that can be generated by the turbine.
The Power Plant
They have decided this time to replace the old power turbine with a new one that had been lying fallow in the premises and also to install new gas turbine. They have not been able to pit it to use because of their inability to satisfy the terms and conditions of their development partner at that time. Now they have satisfy the terms and conditions of their development partner at that time. Now they have satisfy over 90% of those conditions and also to install new gas turbine.
The BECL is currently carrying out a comprehensive appraisal and repair of the components that are expendable, those parts that are fast wearing out, much like a turnaround maintenance.
The M.D said projects embarked upon by the company are quite ambitious. He promised that they will carry out the maintenance of the turbine the way a power plant is supposed to be turned around.
According to him, and all things being equal. He was confident that if they complete the exercise, the company will then be able to generate about 14 megawatts of electricity into the local grid which would enable the company to provide power for Ogbia, parts of Southern Ijaw and Nembe Local Government Headquarters. This work has become necessary now because when work was done on the turbine, rotor and other associated parts that make the power plant whole were not attended to.
The M.D equally said they has though that it would be able to sustain them until such a time when they will need to carry out complete overhaul. Their evaluation, he said however was wrong, in the sense that they were losing oil abnormally from the power turbine end of the power plant, which meant that the machine at the time they did the evaluation, was not strong enough as expected.
After the work, if they want to use the equipment the way they intend to, then they are looking at a minimum of three years of continuous operation before another over haul.
The MD did a complete overhaul of everything inside the premises, beginning with the admin block which was given a face lift to a status befitting that of the new idea.
Work station replacing the bogus remote control panel at the background. Once there is a trip; there will be indications in the control room showing reasons for the trip, time and date that the trip took place.
Secondly, it has the advantage of keeping a data base of activities for up to one month which can be retrieved for review inside the panel itself.
The beauty of it is that it is remotely monitored on line. Wherever whoever is in charge may be, he will see it through the wide area network, the cause of the disruption in his own laptop in the comfort of his bedroom or wherever he or she may be. Fault detection made easy.
Program of State of the Act 33Kv with years, Two Incomers and Seven Goings.New metal clad switch gears have been put in place. They serve as the interface between the lines that transport to the various communities seamlessly.The monitor the various loads and line conditions in a manner that only unhealthy portions of the lines are insulated while the normal sections remain in service.
The two that take power from the generator, the incomer feeders and the seven that transport the power to the end users, the outgoing feeders are in this component. These are the panels that almost terminated the life of Engr. Kemenanabo in the time past as General Manager Electricity Corporation for his first tenurewho was as well in charge of the turbine station at Imiringi.
Presently, this time he took time to provide the State-of-the-art equipment to prevent a repeat of what happened to him.They are now programmed and protected in such a way that reduces human interference particularly in the high voltage room where the entire danger is. The two panels that receive power from the turbine can run concurrently but not in parallel while other panels can be used alternatively. If one goes bad then the other one can be used.
Challenges which BECL, has are not different from the those of the distribution companies, the DISCOs, These challenges range from the dearth of skilled workforce with the right attitude to operate within a private sector-driven environment; to attitude and perception of electricity as a socio-political venture that government is believed to provide as a welfare service to the lack of understanding of the dynamics of the electric power system in its entirety. These remain the biggest risks any power company faces and BECL is not insulated from all of it. So, part of the challenges they have is finance as the consuming public have refused to pay bills.
The co-operation the company has received from the public in the past in terms of payment of electricity bills was not encouraging. This, the M.D said was not peculiar to Bayelsa State and that other states of the federation are also passing through almost the same problem that they are passing through.
That, he said, had to do with the perception the people have about electricity. They think that electricity is a social and political product. That perception he said was wrong because electricity can never be a social or political tool by which anybody will say if you vote electricity free of charge. He said further that today’s electricity definition is driven purely by enterprise initiatives. Therefore it is technical and economic factors that sustain such a system.The company sells the product to maintain the power plant and its operation. He explained the financial relationship which the company has with the government.
According to him, whatever money the government is giving as a company to them is loan and they are expected to generate money to pay back to government as a company. The role of the government is to back them up to access funds in anticipation that they are going to operate and make profit and be in a position to refund the money to the government.
Presently, with the new arrangements of the installation of the new gas turbine, arrangement has been finalized with Memorandum of Understanding signed with expatriates for the full installation of the new gas turbine to enable Bayelsans for uninterrupted power supply in the designated areas of operation to boost the economy of Bayelsa State, so the M.D added, as he is working around the clock day and night to achieve the desire result of the Prosperity Government in the generation of energy.