A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Power: How Nigeria recorded 190 systems collapse in almost 9 years

*An official of the Transmission Company of Nigeria clearing a fault at a transmission station.

OpeOluwani Akintayo

12 March 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos —
Fresh statistics gathered by SweetcrudeReports have shown how Nigeria’s national grid experienced a total of 190 systems collapse in nine years.

Data obtained from the Federal Ministry of Power and signed by Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, stated that the system collapse incidences occurred from 2010 till date.

In 2010, from January to December, the national grid witnessed a total of 22 complete shutdowns and 20 partial shutdowns.

In 2011, the country recorded 13 total shutdowns and 6 partial systems collapse, while in 2012, there were 16 total systems collapse and 8 partial shutdowns.

Incidences of either partial or total collapse of the national grid have resulted in blackouts at various times and places across the country.

Popular reasons for the systems collapse have been attributed to either lack of gas supply or fire outbreaks.

In 2013, records show that there were 22 cases of total systems collapse and just two cases of partial collapses.

Then in 2014, cases of total collapse were minimal, pegged at 9, and an equally low number of partial collapse of four.

Recorded cases of total lockdown dropped again to 6 in 2015, and 4 partial shutdowns.

However, the number shut up again to 22 total systems collapse in 2016 and 6 partials.

In 2017, it dropped to 15 cases of total systems collapse and 9 partial meltdowns of the power systems.

Former Managing Director of TCN, Engr. Atiku Tambuwal Abubakar, had said public utility firms can not assure of stable transmission once the national grid was below 3,500mw electricity generation.

Engr. Atiku, who spoke at a management retreat, said the systems collapse that occurred in early 2017 was due to low generation that tripped off the transmission system and caused pockets of outages.

According to him, once power generation dipped below 3,500mw, there was no guarantee for the prevention of systems collapse.

From TCN records, the 10 percent spinning reserve that helps to stabilise transmission system is often lacking due to the acute low generation which results in grid instability and power cut.

So far in 2018, 6 cases of total systems collapse have been recorded: five in January and one on February 1.

On January 2, fire incident that affected the Escravos-Lagos pipeline system close to Okada, Edo State, had resulted in the shutdown of the pipeline supplying gas to Egbin power plant that produces 1,320MW; Olorunsogo NIPP, 676MW; Olorunsogo, 338MW; Omotosho NIPP, 450MW; Omotosho, 338 MW; and Paras, 60MW, causing the national transmission grid to trip off.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Udu Ughamadu, explained that to put out the fire, it had to completely shut down the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline, ELP.

The Feb. 1 incident had caused power generation to drop from a high of 4,699.9 megawatts on January 31, to 219MW.

Atiku, who oversaw the operations of TCN since August 2016 after the contract for Indian company, Manitoba Hydro International (MHI) ended, said if gas was available, Nigeria could generate and smoothly transmit 5,300mw due to completed TCN projects like the Ugwuaji-Makurdi-Jos transmission loop.

“Water and adequate gas supply pose serious problems of planning; especially at the Generation Companies (GenCos),” he said.

With the new administration of TCN under the Interim Managing Director, Usman Gur Mohammed, the power systems seem to be experiencing lesser collapses.

Mohammed, in a statement, said TCN collaborates with the generating companies to implement a frequency control strategy, ‘Free Governor Control’ since May 22, 2017, which he said had helped to stabilise the national grid.

TCN had on June 20, 2017, announced that for the first time in the last 20 years, the national grid maintained frequency stability for 24 hours as at June 14, 2017.

According to Mohammed, the GenCos are now complying with the Grid Code rule, which requires them to maintain the required frequency control.

TCN added that it was working to reduce the rate of systems collapse to the barest minimum, and also, to further improve and stabilise the grid’s frequency.

“TCN is working with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on the provision of required incentives for GenCos to provide enough spinning reserve. The company is also committed to implementing all other actions that would lead to sustained system stability,” he said.

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