Blackout as Nigeria’s Power Grid Collapses Third Time in Five Days

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

The nation’s power grid collapsed for the third time in five days Tuesday, with electricity generation dropping from a peak of 3,594.60 megawatts (MW) at midnight to a meagre 42.7mw at 12 noon.

Data from the National System Operator ((NSO), a unit in The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), indicated that only the Delta Power plant was active on the grid at noon, with 41mw, while Afam had 1.7mw.

Nigeria, a nation of over 200 million persons, barely manages to generate and distribute between 3,500 mw and 4,500mw on a daily basis.

The breakdown of the national grid resulted in a nationwide blackout, leaving many Nigerians without electricity.

The World Bank estimates that businesses in the country suffer an annual loss of $29 billion as a result of “unreliable” electricity, with majority of Nigerians  reluctant to pay their electricity bills because the bills are not “transparent and clear”.

“Businesses in Nigeria lose about $29 billion annually because of unreliable electricity. Nigerian utilities get paid for only a half of electricity they receive,” the report read.

“Six in 10 of registered customers are not metered, and their electricity bills are not transparent and clear. This contributes to resistance to pay electricity bills,” the bank said in a report.

TCN had yet to issue a statement explaining the cause of the latest collapse when this story was being put together.

The problem started earlier on Tuesday when supply dropped from 3,594.60 megawatts (MW) at about 1:00 am, while it slumped to a meagre 42.7MW at the point of writing this report.

However, at about 6pm Tuesday, the system had been restored to 1,662 mw, an indication that the grid was being restored gradually.

The last national grid collapse was caused by a fire at the Kainji/Jebba 330kV line 2, causing outage nationwide. 

Before then, the TCN had celebrated over 421 days of consistent grid stability.

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