Power: Nigeria records 28 system failures in 16 months

Prof Chinedu Nebo

Prof Chinedu Nebo, Minister of Power

01 June 2014, Abuja – Nigeria recorded a total of 28 system failures in the power sector between January 2013 and April this year.

This is contained in the periodic report of the Transmission Company of Nigeria released this month.

Between January and December of 2013, a total of 24 system failures were recorded; 22 of them were total failures, while two were partial system failures, the report indicated.

The report also showed that a total of four failures occurred from January to April this year, with all of the failures being total.

A breakdown of the system failures this year showed that two occurred in January while the other two came in April.

When the country recorded 15 power system collapses in the first five months of 2013, the Federal Government had to inaugurate a 13-member technical panel to investigate the problem in order to prevent future occurrence.

The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, gave the panel two weeks to complete the assignment, stressing that the incessant collapse of electricity infrastructure across the country was becoming worrisome.

Despite this move by the minister, the problem did not abate with another 13 power system collapses occurring, even after the committee was instituted.

Nebo had said, “The high rate of system collapses in recent time, which has given rise to more than 15 collapses in the last five months, calls for a critical look.”

Nebo, however, explained that the radial nature of the nation’s grid system and the failure to build new infrastructure over the years, coupled with the lack of adequate operation and maintenance network, among others, had contributed to the weakness of Nigeria’s transmission network.

Between May and June last year, four states had suffered varying degrees of electricity system collapse, leading to either partial or total blackout in the affected communities.

The affected states are Bayelsa, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara. Niamey in Niger Republic was also affected during the period.

Last week, The PUNCH had reported that five power transmission lines located in Port Harcourt, Benin and Lagos were down for different reasons, thereby worsening the electricity supply situation in the country.

The Afam/Alaoji 132kV line 1 located in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, is said to be undergoing ‘re-conducting’ as well as the 330kV Sapele/Delta line situated in Benin.

For the Lagos region, the 132kV Akangba/Itire line 1 was said to be down owing to faulty line isolator at the Akangba Transmission Station.

The 132kV Ikeja West-Ilupeju line 2 was as of Friday also out due to a cut in the red phase conductor.

The 330kV Egbin/Aja line 4 was unavailable due to suspected electric field at the Aja generation station chamber.

Power generation had dropped to 3,674 megawatts on Saturday, May 24, 2014 from the peak of 4,105MW recorded last month, representing a 10.49 per cent drop.

SUNDAY PUNCH learnt the Egbin gas power station was generating the most at 550.17MW, followed by Okpai, Afam VI and Delta, with 456.83MW, 387.95MW and 365.63MW, respectively.

The Alaoji NIPP, Omoku and Trans Amadi power plants were said to be generating no megawatts.

The Senate Committee on Privatisation had last week summoned Manitoba Hydro, the Canadian company managing the Transmission Company of Nigeria, to appear before it to explain the reason(s) for the poor electricity transmission in the country.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Olugbenga Obadara, during a meeting between the lawmakers and the management team of the Lagos region of the TCN, expressed disappointment over the company’s low capacity and poor performance in the region.

In spite of the private sector players’ incursion into the industry, inadequate transmission infrastructure is one of the challenges hindering efficient transmission of power to consumers.

The transmission network currently has the capability to evacuate less than 3,000MW of electricity and covers less than 40 per cent of the country’s land area.

To solve the problem, the government had handed over the TCN to Manitoba Hydro of Canada under a three-year management contract worth $24m.


– The Punch

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