Nigeria’s Erratic Power Grid Collapses Again, Begins Recovery

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja and Peter Uzoho in Lagos

Nigeria’s fragile national electricity grid suffered its seventh collapse in 2022 yesterday, temporarily throwing the entire country into another total blackout.

Although there had not been an official statement from the system operator, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), THISDAY’s checks at the real-time on-grid network about 5pm showed that power was being gradually restored nationwide.

Earlier, when the news of the grid collapse filtered in, the data showed that no power generation plant was active, while about 19 plants were generating a combined 3,302 megawatts, with Shiroro Hydro at 573MW around 10am before the grid failure.

The last time the grid collapsed was in August and it was occasioned by the shutdown of the country’s power supply infrastructure by protesting members of the National Union Electricity Employees (NUEE).

About 5pm yesterday, although a number of homes had power restored, especially in Abuja, majority of the power generation plants had yet to come on stream, with the network still dealing with severe fluctuations.

At the time, Alaoji was generating 94.20mw from one of its units, Azura-Edo was pushing in 429mw into the grid, Dandikowa was still down, Odukpani was generating 83.7mw, while Omotoso was contributing 32.90mw from one unit, even as Rivers IPP was generating 60mw.

The latest incident occurred at 10:51am, according to a notice to customers by the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), and several other Distribution Companies (Discos) brought the total number of grid collapses to seven this year.

Confirming the national grid collapse in a notice to its customers, signed by Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, EEDC said efforts were on-going by the government-owned TCN to fix the grid.

The Disco said the incident had resulted in the loss of supply being experienced across the network, adding that all of its interface TCN stations are out of supply.

EEDC further explained that due to the collapse, it was unable to provide service to its customers in the five South-east states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo.

EEDC stated, “The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC (EEDC) wishes to inform her esteemed customers of a system collapse which occurred at 10:51am today, 26th September, 2022. This has resulted to 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.

“We are on standby awaiting detailed information of the collapse and restoration of supply from the National Control Centre (NCC), Osogbo.”

The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) also informed its customers that the outage was caused by a system failure about 10.55am and appealed for understanding.

Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) said it regretted the development, urging its customers in Edo, Delta, Ekiti and Ondo states to be patient, as the all of its feeders were out.

Ikeja Electric alerted its customers to the blackout, and informed them that the incident was caused by collapse of the national grid, which occurred earlier at 10:50hrs.

“This has affected the transmission stations within our network and resulted in the loss of power supply to our customers,” it stated.

A day earlier, there had been some improvement in the system, with peak power generation of 4,100mw while the lowest was 3,652mw, with the frequency hovering between 49.04 Hertz (Hz) and 50.34Hz.

The national grid collapsed twice, in July and August, before the latest system collapse to hit seven, exceeding the three recorded last year.

However, a statement last night by TCN’s Public Affairs Manager, Ndidi Mbah, stated that the restoration of the grid had almost been completed. According to her, the national control centre was already conducting a probe into the cause of the nationwide disruption in power supply, leading to a sudden drop in system frequency.

The statement said, “The restoration of the affected part of the grid commenced immediately at 11.55am with Osogbo/Ihovbor back to the grid followed by Jebba/Osogbo, Kainji/Jebba, Benin/Onitsha, Shiroro/Kaduna, Shiroro/Katampe, and Alaoji/Ikot-Ekpene.

“Others are Lokoja/Gwagwalada, Odukpani/Ikot Ekpene, Benin/Omotosho, Oke-Aro/Ikeja west, Egbin/Oke-Aro and Kaduna/Kano.

“The National Control Centre (NCC) said a full-scale investigation is being conducted to establish and ascertain the cause of the partial disturbance, as this unwholesome event has resulted in aggregated generation loss.

“However, grid restoration is almost completed and the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) regrets any inconveniences caused and appreciates the kind understanding of electricity consumers within and outside the country.”

TCN said it was committed to leveraging the concerted interventions so far to enhance power supply reliability and surmount the issue of system disturbance.

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