Anger in Nigeria as national power grid collapses twice in 6 hours

Businesses and homes were again left without power supply for several hours yesterday after the nation’s national grid collapsed twice in less than six hours, dropping power generation by 93.5 per cent to 273MW.

The latest collapse came barely two weeks after the controversial celebration of 400 days of stable or incident-free operations by the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN.

In 2022, the grid collapsed seven times, with the Federal Government promising to end constant power grid instability.

Data supplied by the National System Operator, a semi-autonomous unit in the Transmission Company of Nigeria showed that the grid collapsed around 12.35 am yesterday.

After several hours, it collapsed again around 6.40am, leaving the entire country without public power supply.

As at 1.30 pm yesterday, data from NSO showed that the grid had begun a slow recovery with load allocation to distribution companies at 585 Megawatts.

The highest loads were allocated to Ikeja DisCo (150MW), Eko DisCo and Abuja DisCo with 80MW each.

Why grid collapsed—TCN

The Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, blamed the collapse on a fire incident on Kainji/Jebba 330KV Line 2, adding that the incident is being investigated, with “the view to forestalling future occurrence and invariably further strengthening the grid.”

A statement by TCN General Manager, Public Affairs, Ndidi Mbah, stated that “grid restoration nationwide is in progress and has reached advanced stages, with power supply now available in the West, North-Central, South, East, and a large portion of the northern parts of the country.

“The power supply restoration is sequel to the total grid collapse, which occurred at about 12.35 am, this morning (yesterday), causing outages nationwide, after over 421 days of consistent grid stability.

“In the course of grid restoration, the process initially suffered a setback; this does not amount to another collapse. In the course of any grid restoration process, challenges may be encountered. This happened today while the grid restoration was in progress, but it was promptly addressed”.

Minister of Power confirms system collapse

In his X (formerly Twitter) handle, the Minister of Power, Bayo Adelabu, said: “At 00:35Hrs this morning, Fire outbreak with explosion sound was observed on Kainji/Jebba 330KV Line 2 (Cct K2J) blue phase CVT & Blue phase line Isolator of Kainji/Jebba 330KV Line1 was observed burning. This led to sharp drops in frequency from 50.29Hz to 49.67 Hz at 0:35:06Hrs with Jebba generation loss of 356.63MW.”

Grid unstable

Another government official, who pleaded anonymity, said: “The grid has been very unstable for days before the latest system collapse. As we speak, there is a blackout.”

Checks by Vanguard showed that Nigeria’s electricity generation dropped, Tuesday, by 59 per cent to 1,705 megawatts, MW, from 4,182 MW recorded the previous day at 06:00hours, due to grid disturbance.

DisCos appeal to consumers

In notices informing customers of the outage, DisCos blamed the countrywide blackout on the national grid collapse.

Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC in a statement by its Head, Corporate Communications, Emeka Ezeh, stated that “a total system collapse occurred at 12:40am today (yesterday), September 14, 2023. This has resulted in the loss of supply currently being experienced across the network.

“Due to this development, all our interface TCN stations are out of supply, and we are unable to provide service to our customers in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states.”

On its part, Eko DisCo, stated: “Kindly be informed that a system collapse occurred yesterday at 6:41 a.m. This has resulted in a total loss of supply across our network. We are in continuous communication with our partners at the National Control Centre, NCC, Osogbo. You will be updated as we get more information.”

Also, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, reported the collapse, stating: “The management of AEDC wishes to inform its customers that the power outage currently being experienced is a result of a system failure from the national grid in the early hours of today, 14 September 2023.

“Be rest assured that we are working with the relevant stakeholders to restore power as soon as the grid is stabilized.’’

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