TCN Records Two System Collapses in Four Months

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Chineme Okafor in Abuja

Nigeria’s electricity transmission system has recorded two collapses within the first four months of 2016, details from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) have shown.

According to the TCN, one of the collapses was total and occurred on March 31,2016, while the other, which was partial, occurred on April 23, 2016.

Even though the TCN repeatedly said it was working hard to ensure that the frequency of collapses in Nigeria’s electricity transmission system is reduced, the development however cast some doubt over the integrity of its commitment to upgrading the country’s transmission network which recorded just six collapses in 2015.

Prior to reducing the frequency of system collapse in Nigeria’s transmission network to six in 2015, the country in 2013 recorded an all-time high of 22 collapses and subsequently nine in 2014.

But the TCN in explaining the March 31 collapse said it was caused by the tripping of Osogbo/Ihovbor and Ihovbor/Benin 330kV transmission lines, which resulted in loss of 201megawatts (MW) of electricity generation from Ihovbor power station.

That collapse, it further noted affected the country’s generation/load imbalance and thus resulted in sudden decline in system frequency which culminated in the collapse.

TCN also said the total grid generation when the collapse happened was 3,196.0MW and that the low generation at the time was due to shortage of gas supply to generators.

It added that the transmission grid is characteristically susceptible to system collapses when generation is below 3,500MW and the available spinning reserve capacity is low.

For that of April 23, TCN stated that the partial collapse of the system was specifically caused by a sudden loss of 200MW of generation due to technical reasons and that the problem was quickly resolved by the company’s engineers, hence the restoration of full power transmission to the grid.

It blamed the low supply of gas to thermal generation plants in the south for the recent frequency in collapses of the system, yet industry stakeholders warned that such repeated collapses of the country’s transmission network was not a welcome development. They also asked that existing works to strengthen TCN’s transmission network be completed with some commitment.