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Electricity Supply Returns Gradually After Reported Grid Collapse

Electricity supply to major cities across the country is gradually being restored after the national grid collapsed yesterday.

This is as the minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu met with top management teams of power Generating companies (GENCOs) and  Distribution companies (DISCOs) in a bid to find lasting solutions to blackouts in some parts of the country.

Nigeria witnessed another round of blackout across the country on Sunday as the national power grid collapsed again, making it the first grid collapse in 2024.

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN)-operated the grid went down at around 11:51 AM on Sunday, as a result, the system’s capacity dropped from 2,58.57 megawatts to 59.9 MW by midday.

TCN general manager, Public Affairs Ndidi Mbah, confirmed the development, which she however described as “Partial System Disturbance” and claimed that the grid was fully restored.

However, our checks indicated that generated capacity on the grid was 1,605 MW as at 7: 00 PM still much below the usual performance of about 4,000MW.

She said that gas constraints continue to impact grid flexibility and stability adding that ensuring sufficient gas supply to power generating stations is crucial for grid stability as sufficient generation allows for better grid management in the event of sudden generation losses like this.

According to her, TCN will investigate the cause of tripping of Sapele Steam & Egbin power generating units.

“TCN hereby states that the grid experienced a partial disturbance at about 11:21 hours today (Sunday) with Ibom power islanded, feeding Eket, Ekim, Itu & Uyo transmission substations, during the period of partial disturbance. TCN initiated immediate restoration of the affected part of the grid, and presently, the grid is fully restored.

“Prior to the incident, total generation on the grid was 3,901.25 MW at 08:00 Hours, a little over three hours before the time of partial collapse. It is important to note that low power generation has persisted since January 2024, to date, exacerbating daily due to the lingering gas constraint,” she stated.

According to her, “the National Control Center (NCC), the Internet of Things (IoT) revealed that just before the partial disturbance, which occurred at 11:21 Hours today, Sapele Steam & Egbin Substations lost a total of 29.32MW & 343.84MW at 11:20:14 Hours & 11:20:17 Hours respectively, totalling 373.16MW.

This, combined with the current low power generation due to gas constraints, caused the imbalance leading to the partial system disturbance” Mbah said.

Meanwhile, the minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, in a statement, said:  “Power supply during the yuletide improved, but unfortunately, we’ve experienced setbacks in the new year. After investigations, it’s clear that the main cause of poor power supply is the low supply of gas to GenCos.”

Addressing managing directors and chief executive officers of the companies at separate meetings over the weekend, the minister said that there was a noticeable improvement in power supply during the yuletide period but the situation changed in the new year with poor supply leading to blackouts across the country.

Adelabu said his investigation revealed that the poor supply was due to low gas supply to GENCOs. “ It was based on the need to understand the challenges first hand that led to inspection visits to power facilities in Olorunsogo in Ogun State and Omotosho in Ondo State. The problem is traceable to low supply of gas and we need to resolve this as quickly as possible”, he said.

The meeting also discussed issues of indebtedness to GENCOs by the  Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET).  “We are aware that the sector has liquidity challenges, but we need to have a minimum threshold. We are working on revalidating the debt and determining a fair resolution ”.

Adelabu spoke further on  the need by GENCOs to enter  a contractual arrangement with gas suppliers to ensure steady supply of gas to generating companies. “ We know that there are certain concessions expected of the government before this could be achieved and we are willing to work on this  to stabilise the power sector, ” he assured.

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To resolve the gas impasse and the liquidity issue, the Minister assured that a committee would be set up comprising all stakeholders to come up with appropriate recommendations.

“To tackle the gas supply and liquidity challenges, I’ve decided to form a committee involving all stakeholders. Together, we will work on recommendations to resolve these issues and ensure a more reliable and consistent power supply for our citizens.

A plan has also been established to initiate discussions with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources regarding collaboration and to emphasise to the Ministry the importance of prioritising Gas to Power.

“Our commitment is unwavering in addressing the challenges affecting power supply. We understand the impact on citizens, and our goal is to swiftly resolve the issues of gas supply, indebtedness, and overall sector stability. Your patience is appreciated as we work collaboratively towards a brighter, more reliable energy future for Nigeria”.

The minister also clarified his position on subsidies in the power sector. Contrary to reports that the minister called for subsidy removal, what he said was that if the government was subsidising power, it should be backed up with payment.

“There is a  need to correct the erroneous impression going around quoting the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu as advocating removal of subsidy in the Power sector, the minister’s spokesman, Bolaji Tunji, stated.

“For clarification, the minister of Power embarked on an inspection visit to power facilities across the country to get a first hand report on power facilities in the country,  the inspection  visit took him to Kanji Power Plant which will soon be adding about 980 megawatts to the national grid from the present generation of 760 megawatts.

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The  Minister has also visited Ayede Sub-Station and some other power facilities in Oyo State including a visit to the Ibadan Distribution Company (IBEDC) where he read the riot act that no distribution company should compel communities  to buy transformers or electricity poles as it should be the responsibility of the distribution companies to do so.

During his visit  to the power facilities to   Olorunshogo Power Plant in Papalanto  and Omotosho, he discovered certain challenges affecting the smooth operation of the Power Plants. Some of the issues are related to liquidity problems in the sector which has adversely affected low gas supply to the Generating Companies leading to drop in power generation in the country.

The Minister said the country should either focus on whether we want power to be a social service or be fully commercialised. If it is a social service with the government fully subsidising, then  NBET should pay what is being owed to enable payment to  gas suppliers through the Generating Companies. The converse said is to implement an appropriate tariff that would enhance liquidity in the sector and make it more competitive. The Minister did not advocate removal of subsidy but a clear cut policy to address issues of illiquidity in the sector.

SOURCE: LEADERSHIP

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