03 January 2018, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Nigeria’s power grid collapsed on Tuesday night, leading to widespread blackout across the country.
The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing have explained that the collapse, the first in 2018, was due to a fire incident on the Escravos Lagos Pipeline System of the Nigerian Gas Processing and Transportation Company Limited.
The incident led to a shutdown of the pipeline that supplies gas to six thermal power plants resulting to the collapse of the country’s electricity grid.
According to a statement from the ministry issued on Wednesday, “The sudden loss of generation due to interruption in gas supply from these stations caused the national transmission grid to trip off around 20:20 on 2nd January 2018. The national transmission grid is owned and operated by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
“It is regrettable that after a sustained period of increasing production and distribution of power since September 2017 to date, the Nigerian Gas Processing and Transportation Company Ltd reported a fire incident on its Escravos Lagos Pipeline System near Okada, Edo State on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.
“The incident requires a shutdown of the pipeline supplying gas to Egbin 1,320 megawatts; Olorunsogo NIPP 676MW; Olorunsogo 338MW; Omotosho NIPP 450MW; Omotosho 338 MW; and Paras 60MW power stations.”
Most of Nigeria’s power generation is from thermal power stations that use gas, according to the ministry.
Nigeria’s state oil firm, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which owns and operates the gas pipelines, is working to restore gas supply on the affected pipelines, the statement said.
“Once the national grid is restored, output from the hydroelectric power stations and all other unaffected gas-fired thermal power stations will be increased to the extent possible to minimize the impact of loss of generation from the affected power stations,” the statement said.
Nigeria’s electricity grid shut down several times last year, underscoring the instability of the country’s creaking power infrastructure.
Nigeria’s dilapidated power grid is often blamed for hobbling growth in Africa’s largest economy, despite efforts to improve it through privatization.
Many businesses and households have their own power generators, often costly and run on fuel, as a backup for the country’s frequent blackouts.