TCN: Inability to Generate 3500mw Responsible for Repeated System Collapse

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By Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) yesterday said Nigeria’s inability to generate and maintain a minimum of 3500 megawatts of electricity to the national grid had been responsible for the frequent power system collapse experienced in the country.

Speaking during the management retreat of the TCN in Abuja, the Managing Director of the Transco, Dr. Abubakar Atiku said the repeated system collapse were avoidable but that anytime the country’s generation profile dropped below 3500mw, the transmission network would become susceptible to collapses.

He said at the moment, the country’s transmission system did not have spinning reserves to protect it from such collapse, adding that as a practice, 10 per cent of the total generated power in the system at any time should be kept as a spinning reserve.

By description, spinning reserves are usually any back-up energy capacity which can be made available to a transmission system at instances of system collapses for continuous operation for at least two hours pending when the system is restored to normalcy. It represents the level of reliability that a transmission system has.

Also, the country’s electricity generation had recently dipped and was according to the System Operations department of the TCN at 2987.20mw on Friday night.

Atiku however said: “System collapse is avoidable if we have 3500mw of electricity steadily generated. If we go below that, there is no guarantee whatsoever that there will not be system collapse. And we don’t have spinning reserve which should be 10 per cent of our total generation at any time.

“Just like what happened yesterday on the Kaduna-Jebba line, there is nothing we can do if we have low generation.

“I must admit that the last two weeks have not been a good experience for us in the power sector and the major problem is the inability of the power plants to generate the needed power.

“We are generating below 3500mw and that is attributable to gas because they are not getting the right quantities at the right time, and most of the units at the generation end are down and so the generation level has gone low.”

According to Atiku: “If we are generating below 3500mw, we at the transmission company cannot guarantee stable grid. Any turbulence can destabilise the grid and make it to collapse. We do not have adequate spinning reserves to cushion the event of loss of loss of generation.

“When our line trip and we lose a substantial amount of power, that leads to system collapse and this is what we are witnessing these days. We are doing all we can to ensure that generation is above 3500mw to guarantee stability in the system.”