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Darkness in major cities as national grid collapses

Nigeria Sunday witnessed its first national blackout this year following a national grid collapse at 11:21am. The situation led to all 20 power plants, except…

Nigeria Sunday witnessed its first national blackout this year following a national grid collapse at 11:21am.

The situation led to all 20 power plants, except Ibom Power (31MW), being offline by 11:51am.

Confirming the incident, the management of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), released a statement explaining that the power outage was a result of a system failure from the national grid.

While appealing for patience among its customers, it assured that it is working with the relevant stakeholders to restore power as soon as the grid is stabilized.

On its part, Kaduna Electric lost bulk power supply hence the outage being experienced currently in Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi states.

The DisCo promised to restore electricity to its customers as soon as it received its consignment at its load centres across its franchise.

Reacting to the outage, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) stated that the grid experienced a partial disturbance at about due to gas constraints at its Ibom power islanded, feeding Eket, Ekim, Itu & Uyo transmission substations.

The statement signed by its General Manager, Public Affairs, Nididi Mbah, said during the period of partial disturbance, total generation on the grid was 3,901.25 Megawatt (MW) at 08:00Hours, a little over three hours before time of partial collapse.

While stating that it has restored the affected part of the grid, she said the low power generation has persisted in the country since January 2024, to date, exacerbating daily generation to the lingering gas constraint.

Before now, Distribution Companies across the country had complained that gas shortages in Generation Companies had caused supply hiccups in their franchise areas.

In Sokoto, the power supply went off in most parts of the state around 9am, but it was briefly flashed to Arkilla areas around 7pm, a resident of the area, Muhammad Yakubu, confirmed.

However, Daily Trust observed that as at the time of filing this report, the state was in total darkness.

In Gusau, the capital of Zamfara State and Funtua LGA of Katsina State, the power outage was experienced immediately after the Subhi prayer.

“The power supply went off immediately after the 6am prayer and up till this time that I am speaking with you there is no supply of electricity from the distribution company to the state,” a resident of Kofarmata Kara, Aminu Musa, said.

Another resident, Husaini Ibrahim Funtua, told Daily Trust that “I was at the mosque when the electricity went off and up till this moment supply has not been restored.”

150 grid collapses recorded in 11 years

Daily Trust reports that yesterday’s blackout made it the 150th time the country recorded grid collapse since 2013.

Analysis showed that in 2013, the country recorded 24 power system collapses. The collapse incidents stood at 13 in 2014. In 2015, the grid collapsed 10 times; in 2016, it rose to 28, while 21 cases were recorded in 2017.

Grid collapse cases in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 were 13, 11, four and four, respectively. It collapsed about 10 times between 2022 and 2023 while one was recorded in 2024.

While the reasons for the collapses vary, Daily Trust reports that outdated infrastructure, vegetation growing along grid lines, vandalism of grid, and shortage of gas have been some of the issues that cause national blackouts in the country.

The country witnessed the recent grid collapse yesterday at 11:21am, which plunged the country into complete darkness.

The generation companies said the inability to recoup their funds from the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) has stifled their capacity to purchase adequate gas.

Data showed that GenCos recorded a N136 billion monthly deficit as of July 2023.

NBET which purchases electricity in bulk from GenCos through power purchase agreements sells it through contracts to the distribution companies, who in turn supply to the consumers.

The GenCos were paid N69 billion out of the total invoice amount of N123.36 billion for July 2023. In the first quarter of 2023, the power producers got N171.67 billion out of the N235.92 billion due to them, according to NBET.

NBET’s data also revealed GenCos were paid N245.98 billion out of the total invoice amount of N299.81 billion for the second quarter of 2023.

But the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, said he had held crucial discussions with power Generating Companies (GENCOs) and Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to address the ongoing issue of blackouts in parts of our country.

Adelabu said that investigations showed that the main cause of poor power supply is the low supply of gas to GENCOs.

He added that during a meeting, he also addressed the indebtedness to GENCOs by Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET), while acknowledging the sector’s liquidity challenge.

“We are working on validating the debt and determining a fair resolution. I emphasized the importance of GENCOs establishing contractual arrangements with gas suppliers to ensure a steady gas supply. Recognizing concessions may be needed, I assure you that we are committed to working on this to stabilize the power sector.”

He said to tackle the gas supply and liquidity challenges, he decided to form a committee involving all stakeholders to work on recommendations to resolve the issues and ensure a more reliable and consistent power supply for our citizens.

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