Nationwide Blackout Looms As Nigeria’s Jaded Electricity Grid Collapses Again

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  • DisCos Lament, Worry Over Grid Capacity

The national grid experienced another system collapse, Tuesday afternoon, causing a power outage in some parts of the country, The New Diplomat learnt.

The grid managed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and operated from base in Osogbo, Osun state had downtime as sources at the TCN and the Distribution Companies confirmed the development.

Though the TCN was yet to disclose the reason for the collapse, a source who operate at the management level with one of the Discos said his distribution company had already notified electricity consumers of the collapse.

“It’s difficult for the DisCos to atimes point out government’s failings in the handling of the TCN. But I can confirm that the grid collapsed again today and we had already notified our consumers about the disruption in our service pending the restoration of power.”

He said government’s claim that the grid’s carrying capacity is up to 8,500MW is not true, noting that the old-fashioned analogue nature of the grid explains why it has become difficult for it to effectively and efficiently evacuate power produced  by the Generation Companies (GenCos) and transmit same to the DisCos.

“The capacity of grid is just about 5,000MW and government has been lying about the 8,500MW it regularly puts out. The whole thing is simulation. Truth is if you produce something in Lagos and fail to convey it to customers in Ibadan, you can’t turn around and blame people in Ibadan for not receiving it, they keep passing the blame to DisCos, but the TCN is the weakest link in the power sector as of today and until government owns up, the sector will continue to be in mess.”

The grid had experienced collapse multiple times this year alone. In May, The New Diplomat reported that the grid collapsed as a result of industrial action after it had earlier collapse in April amid the Covid-19 total lockdown in the country. Also, there was a national blackout in January, occasioned by the system collapse.

In 2019, the grid recorded over eleven system collapse causing grim darkness across the nation.

The New Diplomat recalls that the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), worried over its increasing loss margin, had in 2019 said over 100 electricity grid collapses had been recorded since the power sector was privatized in 2013.

Years after the privatization of the generation and distribution ends of the power sector, the Nigerian government still operates the transmission chain through TCN, often described as the weakest link in the country’s power sector, no thanks to the jaded grid which has continued to contribute to TCN’s failings.

Recall that Usman Gur Mohammed was recently sacked as the Managing Director of the TCN.

Minister of power, Mohammed Sale, approved of his sack, appointing Sule Abdulaziz to replace him in acting capacity. The ministry had said the sack was part of ongoing efforts to reposition the ailing power sector in the country.

“As part of continuing measures to reposition and improve the performance of the power Sector in the country, the Honorable Minister of Power Engr. Sale Mamman hereby announces major changes at the Transmission Company of Nigeria,” Aaron Artimas, spokesman of the minister, said in a statement.

However, a top source revealed to The New Diplomat that the newly appointed MD, Abdulaziz has not been given a confirmation letter of appointment since mid-May when the leadership change was announced. This, he said has continued to lead to some operational lapses at the TCN with the rest of the power sector and the Nigerian electricity consumers bearing the brunt.

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'Dotun Akintomide's journalism works intersect business, environment, politics and developmental issues. Among a number of local and international publications, his work has appeared in the New York Times. He's a winner of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Award. Currently, the Online Editor at The New Diplomat, Akintomide has produced reports that uniquely spoke to Nigeria's experience on Climate Change issues. When Akintomide is not writing, volunteering or working on a media project, you can find him seeing beautiful sites like the sandy beaches that bedecked the Lagos coastline.

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