• Fri. Sep 29th, 2023

Vandals behind series of systems collapse, nationwide blackout, says Power Minister

ByBassey Udo

Apr 10, 2022

By Bassey Udo

Last Friday’s systems collapse, which threw the country into another nationwide blackout, was as a result of the activities of vandals, Minister of Power,
Abubakar Aliyu, confirmed in Abuja on Saturday.

The Minister said the narional power outage was as a result of acts of vandalism on a major transmission tower on the Odukpani-Ikot Ekpene 330kV double circuit transmission line, resulting in a sudden loss of about 400MW of electricity generation.

The latest collapse was the third in a space of less than one month.

Late last month, the country recorded two systems collapse back to back, resulting in blackouts that lasted for about three days.

The blackout was said to have been as a result of the loss of the available 1,100 MW from a peak generation capacity of about 3,700MW.

However, as the systems engineers managed to restore the system, the Federal Government expressed optimism that sufficient steps were taken to address the problem.

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), the managers of the national grid, assured that its in-house engineers deployed alternative ways to ensure effective management of the system.

“We have developed a stop-gap solution to improve grid monitoring and acquisition of data from remote power stations and transmission substations to the National Control Centre,” TCN said.

The transmission company said the new system was achieved by utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT) solution, and Virtual Private Network (VPN), by using various Internet Service Providers (ISP).

But, barely two weeks since operations on the system was restored, the Minister for Power,
Abubakar Aliyu, announced, on Friday

“We wish to notify the general public of the incidence of a system collapse, which occurred at 1830hrs on April 8, 2022 resulting in power outages in many parts of the country. While a detailed investigation into the immediate and remote causes of the recurring grid failure is currently ongoing by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and System Operator (the operator of the national grid), the process of restoring supply is ongoing with some sections of the national grid already energised and supply restored to consumers,” he said.

The Minister assured Nigerians that the Federal Government was working to deliver on the required reforms and investments, including SCADA, which are critical to improving the capacity and reliability of the national grid.

He said this was in line with the President’s directives on closing infrastructure deficits in critical sectors of the country’s economy.

However, hours later, in an update on the situation, the Minister, in another public statement, identified vandalism on a major transmission infrastructure as the immediate cause of the system collapse and national blackout.

This, he said, consequently led to a cascade of plant shut down across the country.

“We wish to notify the public that power on the grid is being restored sequentially by the System Operator as other on-grid power plants are being dispatched to cover the lost generation capacity from the Calabar power plant owned by the Niger Power Holding Company Ltd.”, the Minkster said.

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 the cause of the epileptic performance of the system.

While TCN said the poor supply of electricity, characterized by massive load shedding, was as a result of inadequate volume of electricity from the electricity generation companies (GENCOs) for it to 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).

The latest explanation by the Minister adds to the number of reasons profered as the cause of the epileptic supply of electricity by different managers of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

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