Energy - News - March 16, 2022

Power outage: Another systems collapse throws the country into total darkness

By Bassey Udo

Barely hours after normalcy was restored in electricity supply through the national grid after Monday morning’s collapse, the system crashed again, this time totally, throwing the entire country into total darkness.

The supply of electricity across the country has been facing severe challenges in recent times as key players in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) continue to engage in the blame game about what could be the cause of the epileptic performance of the system.

While the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) say the poor supply of electricity, which is characterized by massive load shedding, was as a result of inadequate volume of electricity from the electricity generation companies (GENCOs) for it ro wheel to consumers, the GENCos in turn blame the situation on poor management of the grid infrastructure and other operational issues, like inadequate supply of gas and huge indebtedness by the Federal Government through the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET).

But while the blame game continues, consumers have been subjected to the most grueling experience in recent times, as the level of electricity available nationwide dropped drastically to less than 1000 megawatts before the crash of the national grid on Monday.

A nationwide blackout was experienced on Monday following the collapse of the national electricity grid after it lost the available 1,100 MW from a peak generation capacity of 3,700MW.

Although a frantic rescue effort managed to restore operations on the grid late on Monday, the system worked for a few hours before relapsing again into a total collapse and complete cut in nationwide power outage at about 1709 hours on Tuesday evening.

Following the crash, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company immediately alerted consumers in its franchise area of the development and assured them of efforts to fix the problem, including contacting the TCN and other relevant stakeholders to salvage the situation as quickly as possible.

Grid operations report as at Monday afternoon showed the system was yet to recover the load as three attempts failed to reinstate the system by about 2pm.

In Abuja, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) also notified its customers of the collapse and appealed for their cooperation and understanding, while the work with other stakeholders in the value chain to restore normalcy.

A system monitoring report said at least 19 of the 25 active electricity generation lines linking the national grid were producing power as of 6 am on Monday when the grid held 3,867.60MW.

However, the available power began to decline gradually until it hit the bottom at 2,761.20MW by 10am after six of the available generation lines shut down, leaving only 13.

However, it was learnt that after the second collapse a few hours later, frantic efforts made by the authorities to salvage the situation again failed to yield any positive result.

It is not clear how long the latest situation is going to last before normalcy is restored. But it was learned that the relevant authorities were unrelenting in efforts to restore normalcy.

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