•  Ikeja Electric apologises for power outage

Ejiofor Alike in Lagos and Chineme Okafor in Abuja

Electricity generation profile in the country wednesday dropped to 15,80.6 megawatts (MW) following a suspected partial systems collapse.

Sources in two of the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) told THISDAY that load allocation to them had drastically dropped following the generation dip.

However, figures from the daily report of the Nigerian System Operations Department of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) disclosed that as at 9.48a.m. yesterday, the country had a generation figure of 1580.6MW which was distributed to the 11 Discos.
The website showed that the loads were distributed in the following order: Ikeja Disco-237.09MW, Abuja-181.77MW, Eko-173.87MW, Benin-142.25MW, Ibadan-205.48MW and Jos-86.93MW.

Kano got 126.45MW, Port Harcourt had 102.74MW and Yola got 55.32MW of the entire generation figure.
One of the Disco sources explained that there was a partial system collapse which was recorded last Tuesday as a result of Shiroro Hydro Power Station going out of production.

According to the source, the Shiroro outage brought down generation to about 2,000MW from the 4,300MW peak generation that was reportedly attained late last week.

When contacted for clarification of the development, the Managing Director of the System Operations, Mr. Dipak Sarma, denied that there was any system collapse or drop in generation.

He said: “Did you guess that there is a system collapse or something? No, there is no collapse.”
When pressed to explain the reason for the drop in generation, Sarma who sounded put off by the question said: “Do you read the newspapers or see the newspapers my friend? You are a correspondent of the THISDAY Newspapers, have you not seen that it is coming up every day and that there is gas pipeline issues.”

THISDAY further told him that the generation figures were displayed on the daily report which was on the System Operations’ website, but Sarma retorted: “Don’t talk of website, are you not supposed to collect information from the operators. You do not do guess work in the electricity industry.”

Meanwhile, the Ikeja Electric has apologised for the epileptic power supply across its network in the past three days, and blamed the outage on the protest by the Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Matters (SSAEAM).

The company’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Felix Ofulue, who made this appeal in a statement yesterday, attributed the poor service to the ongoing activities by some labour unions which are picketing the facilities of the company.
According to him, the workers of the company are not on strike but have been prevented by the protesting labour unions from gaining access to the facilities.

He said the company’s workers are therefore, not in a position to provide any consistent services to its valued customers.
Ofulue said the situation had impacted negatively on the power supply as well as purchase of recharge units because all the substations, business units and undertakings have been taken over by the protesting unions.
“Ikeja Electric regrets all inconveniences these actions may have caused its customers and appeals to all its customers to please bear with us. We assure that the company is doing its best to normalise the situation within the shortest possible time. We thank all our customers for their patience and understanding,” he added

NUEE and SSAEAM on Monday commenced a protest against Ikeja Electric over the company’s alleged disengagement of 400 workers, lack of adequate safety equipment to safeguard workforce and other labour-related issues.

But Ofulue said the company had employed 603 staff between January 2015 and February 2016, in keeping with its commitment to drive service excellence through robust human capital profiling and development, adding also that 74 others were promoted.
He said the employment and promotion were part of the company’s drive to ensure that it has a pool of competent and capable resources to manage modern trends in efficient power distribution and seamless service delivery.

Members of the NUEE, who gathered in their numbers, were joined by some aggrieved members of the public to march to the company’s head office in Alausa, where they presented their grievances.

While the workers said they were aggrieved over the retrenchment of their colleagues, the outsiders, who joined the protest without knowing the real purpose, said they were aggrieved by the epileptic power situation in the areas under the company’s network.
The protesters had disrupted activities at some of the company’s business units before they marched to the secretariat in a non-violeent protest.

In a telephone conversation with THISDAY, a leader of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero said the union was aggrieved over the sack of 400 workers, lack of safety equipment in the company and other issues surrounding the ownership of the company.
“They sacked about 400 workers without following due process. You can’t sack workers without negotiating with the union. The second issue is on safety. Two workers were electrocuted in Isolo area of Lagos and their supervisors wrote a report that the incident occurred because the affected staff lacked safety equipment to contain the power upsurge. The management got angry and included the supervisors among those who were sacked,” Ajaero explained.

Ofulue however revealed that only 229 employees of the company were affected in the disengagement exercise after they failed to meet the required parameters for the company’s performance assessments and were deemed to be performing below mandatory performance objectives.
He reiterated that the exercise was part of the strategic steps aimed at repositioning and it was focused on aligning the company’s structure with its operating model and optimising human capital capacity for better efficiency.