Darkness in homes as national grid suffers second collapse in 4 months

For the second time in four months, Nigeria’s national grid suffered yet another system collapse Wednesday owing to a yet-to-be identified fault.

It was however restored in a jiffy by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), leaving power generation at 2,900 megawatts afterwards.

The grid had collapsed January this year after several ones in 2019, throwing some parts of the country, including Abuja and Lagos into darkness for hours.

          Stakeholders, particularly the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), the umbrella body of the distribution companies, last year decried the repeated system collapse.

         They said the TCN’s analogue system had caused over 100 electricity grid collapses since the power sector was privatised in 2013.

 New collapse 

Confirming the new system collapse in a statement Wednesday in Abuja, the TCN acknowledged the incident occurred at 1.am but could not immediately confirm the cause of the power loss.

TCN General Manager Public Affairs Ndidi Mbah, said the National Control Centre (NCC) of TCN in Osogbo “commenced immediate restoration of the grid which has been completed nationwide except for that of the Eastern axis which was to be completed shortly as at when TCN announced the system disturbance.”

“TCN would commence investigations into the cause of the supply loss as soon as full recovery is achieved. We are committed to ensuring grid stability and consistent bulk power supply, especially at this time of the pandemic,” he said.

 Analysis of the power loss following the latest system collapse shows that 1,658mw has already been lost to the system disturbance. The power grid is however expected to ramp up once TCN restores major transmission lines in the East; peak energy generation may return to the 4,000MW threshold.    

       The national grid experienced its first collapse in 2020 Thursday, 16 January, leading to blackouts in some parts of the country.

The development, which the TCN attributed to “system disturbance”, occurred at about 12.34 pm local time.

The TCN was to later come up that same day, precisely at 1:10 pm, that “supply was restored to Abuja and most parts of the affected areas.”

It further said the country was working to completely restore and stabilise the nation’s grid.

TCN also clarified the extent of disruption in power supply via a statement it later issued.

 It said there was only a “partial collapse of the system, as the grid was still supplying Port-Harcourt, Aba, Omoku, Yenegoa, Afam among others, through Afam 4, River IPP and Omoku Power Stations.

“Efforts 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.” 

The statement also acknowledged that Nigeria still operates with zero spinning reserve, saying system inabilities like that “cannot be totally avoided.”

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