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Vandalism led to national grid collapse ­­— FG

By Kingsley Jeremiah (Abuja) and Sulaimon Salau (Lagos)
10 April 2022   |   4:12 am
The Minister of Power, Aliyu Abubakar, yesterday, disclosed that vandals were responsible for a disruption of the transmission tower between Akwa Ibom and Cross River states, a development that led to the collapse of the country’s electricity grid twice within three hours.

Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu. Photo: TWITTER/CLEMAGBA

The Minister of Power, Aliyu Abubakar, yesterday, disclosed that vandals were responsible for a disruption of the transmission tower between Akwa Ibom and Cross River states, a development that led to the collapse of the country’s electricity grid twice within three hours.

The grid, which has collapsed about half a dozen times this year, collapsed at about 6:30 pm on Friday and crashed again at about 8:30 pm.

Most Distribution Companies (DisCos) at about 6 pm, yesterday, told The Guardian that the grid was still not stable.

Abubakar in a statement signed by an aide, Isa Sanusi confirmed that the grid collapse caused power outages in many parts of the country.

“While a detailed investigation into the immediate and remote causes of the recurring grid failure is currently ongoing by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and System Operator (the operator of the national grid), the process of restoring supply is ongoing with some sections of the national grid already energised, and supply restored to consumers,” Abubakar said.

In shedding more light on the development, the statement continued: “Further to our earlier press release, we wish to apprise the general public that the immediate cause of the national blackout (system collapse) was an act of vandalism on a transmission tower on the Odukpani — Ikot Ekpene 330kV double circuit transmission line thus resulting in a sudden loss of about 400MW of generation. This consequently led to a cascade of plants shut down across the country.

“We wish to notify the public that power on the grid is being restored sequentially by the system operator as other on-grid power plants are being dispatched to cover the lost generation capacity from the Calabar power plant owned by the Niger Power Holding Company Ltd.”

While assuring Nigerians that the Federal Government was working assiduously to deliver on the much-needed reforms and investments, including SCADA that are critical to improving the capacity and reliability of the national grid, Abubakar said the move was in line with the president’s directives on closing infrastructure deficits in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company in a release, late yesterday informed the public that the power outage being experienced was due to a system failure from the national grid.

We appeal for your understanding as all stakeholders are working hard to restore normal supply,” the statement said.

This is not the first time the grid will be collapsing. Since 2013 when the sector was privatised, the grid has failed electricity consumers more than 130 times.

Although the Federal Government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), which manages the grid had at some point said grid collapse happen globally, the collapse of the power supply, each time it occurs, comes with a huge economic loss for consumers, especially commercial entities.