Nigeria: Nationwide blackout looms as TCN workers abandon posts

*Power transmission grid.

*Power transmission grid.

24 April 2016, Abuja — As police continued to barricade the entrance of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, headquarters in Abuja yesterday, electricity workers said they have stayed away from work to avoid confrontation.

While nine transmission feeder pillars had tripped off Friday morning causing a gradual blackout, three others among the four in Abuja reportedly tripped off later as there was no electricity worker to man the operations at the TCN stations.

The workers said they were confronted by the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing over the takeover of the PHCN building (TCN complex) when many payments for the workers after privatising the power sector were still hanging.

The national power grid has been struggling at less than 3,500megawatts, MW, since March due to pipeline vandalism, officials said.

The situation is deteriorating over the declaration of a total absence from work by the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, on Thursday over the barricades to the TCN headquarters where they work since Monday.

The Nigerian System Operator, NSO, a key section of the TCN in charge of wheeling power generated to the distribution companies, DisCos, seem to be affected as it failed to post the daily power statistics for Friday.

Its grid operations report of Thursday indicated that generation was at 3,403 MW, which was a decline by over 60 MW from Wednesday.

An official and top union member said the barricading of the TCN entrance started on Monday and continued yesterday despite the efforts of the union to dialogue with government officials.

Our reporter also observed the heavy presence of policemen at the building in Abuja yesterday. It was also learnt that security officers were drafted to the Apo transmission station in Abuja where power supply to the Federal Capital Territory is controlled.

Daily Trust learnt that some officials of Manitoba Hydro International Nigeria Ltd, MHINL, managing the TCN, have flown out of the country as they cannot enter the premises to work due to the barricade.
*Simon Echewofun Sunday – Daily

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