Nationwide blackout


…As national grid collapses, again

…Under-investment major impediment in Nigeria’s power transmission — Experts

By Ogaga Ariemu

Homes, businesses have suffered another power blackout, the third time in this year as national power grid collapsed again yesterday.

The collapse, which occurred early in the afternoon on Wednesday, was confirmed by three of the electricity distribution companies in the country.

The collapse, announced by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), occurred at about 12:26 pm on Wednesday.

In a statement issued by the DisCo’s Spokesman, Mr Oyebode Fadipe, in Abuja, it said only five per cent, that is 20MW as of press time has been allocated as against the over 400MWs it receives.

“We have been unable to serve our customers in Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa States as well as a significant portion of the entire Federal Capital Territory. At the moment, only 20MW has been allocated to AEDC as against the over 400MW that we have been receiving in recent times.”

Similarly Electricity Distribution Company, in a text message to its customers, said, “Dear customer, the present outage is due to a system collapse on the National Grid. TCN (Transmission Company of Nigeria) assures us that supply will be restored shortly.”

Also the Head of Kano Electricity Distribution Company, Nura Shawai, said in a statement, “This is to kindly inform the general public of another system collapse based on information available to us. This occurred today 28/7/2021 at 12:20 pm, as the national grid was disrupted, resulting in national blackout.

“However, the grid controllers have assured that efforts towards restoring supply are in progress, promising speedy reconnection of Kano and other locations to the grid, as soon as the fault is rectified.”

The grid, which is being managed by government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria, has continued to suffer system collapse over the years amid a lack of spinning reserve that is meant to forestall such occurrences.

Spinning reserve is the generation capacity that is online but unloaded and that can respond within 10 minutes to compensate for generation or transmission outages.

This is the third time the country has experienced blackout this year, the first incidence was recorded in February, the second in May and the third in July 2021.

Meanwhile, in a telephone interview with Nigerian NewsDirect, the CEO of All On, Dr Wiebe Boar said the repeated blackouts are caused by under-investment in Nigeria’s power transmission sector.

He disclosed that complete privatization, full deregulation and decentralisation of the power sector is the solution to grid insistent collapse.

According to him, “Challenges are the result of decades of under investment in transmission and an incomplete privatization process.It would be like if the telcos were mandated to use NITEL infrastructure after they were awarded mobile licenses 20 years ago.They would have failed.

“Solution is a fully deregulated and decentralized power sector.  We need to stop focusing so much on addressing a grid that is already broken, and that even if fully operational is still providing less than 3% of Nigeria’s power need,” he said.