TCN: We Cannot Guarantee Stability of National Power Grid Now


Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has said that it could not guarantee the stability of Nigeria’s electricity grid at the moment because it did not have the spinning reserves to prevent its total collapse whenever there were typical system disturbances.

The national grid on Thursday collapsed and reportedly left most parts of the country in total darkness for long hours. The system collapse was the first in 2020 after about nine was recorded in 2019.

According to Science Direct – an online resource for science and engineering innovations, the spinning reserve is the amount of unused capacity in online energy assets which can compensate for power shortages or frequency drops within a given period of time.

Traditionally, the spinning reserve is a concept that is synonymous with large synchronous power generators; the TCN said in a statement yesterday from its General Manager, Public Affairs, Mrs. Ndidi Mbah that at the moment, it lacked the required spinning reserve to stop the national grid from total collapses.

Although it had applied to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to approve its procurement of spinning reserves for the grid, but the NERC is yet to grant its approval for it.

It stated that the national grid had been fully restored after the system collapse which occurred at about 16.15 hours on Thursday while the grid was recovering from an earlier partial system disturbance. 

The TCN noted that it achieved full restoration of the grid at about 2:19a.m. on Friday morning but that it was not sure if another collapse would not happen in future.

“The initial disturbance of the grid which occurred at about 12.34p.m. yesterday was a partial collapse of the system, as the grid was still supplying Port-Harcourt, Aba, Omoku, Yenegoa, Afam among others, through Afam IV, Rivers IPP and Omoku Power Stations.

“Effort immediately commenced to synchronise other parts of the network but as restoration reached advanced stage, the situation suddenly degenerated into a collapse of the nation’s grid,” said Mbah in the statement.

She further stated that: “Full restoration of the grid re-commenced immediately after the incident and by 10p.m. yesterday, most parts of the nation had been reconnected to the grid, at about 2:19a.m. however, the grid was fully restored.”

She explained that the TCN would not relent in its efforts to completely stabilise the grid, “however, due to the fact that the national grid is still being operated with zero spinning reserve, system instability like what was witnessed yesterday cannot be totally avoided.”

“TCN solicits the support and understanding of Nigerians as the company continues to work to modernise the grid,” Mbah added.