Grid collapse worsens electricity supply in parts of Nigeria

The latest system collapse reported on Sunday may have worsened the poor electricity supply situation in the country.

The Transmission Company of Nigeria, (TCN) said the collapse, which affected a section of the Benin Substation, Sapele Road in Benin City, Edo State resulted from a fire that erupted due to high voltage.

The spokesperson of the TCN, Ndidi Mbah, who confirmed the incident in a statement, said the incident occurred at about 9.10 a.m. on Sunday, causing a fire in the 75MX reactor facility in the area.

According to Mrs Mbah, the high voltage, which triggered the fire, caused a massive drop of load from the national grid and available supply to the electricity distribution companies.

“The massive load drop led to high voltage in the system, which shattered the lightning arrester in close proximity to the 75MX Reactor in Benin Substation,” she said.

“The shattered lightning arrester porcelain hit the reactor bushing causing further explosion on the reactor resulting in fire outbreak,” Mrs Mbah added.

The spokesperson did not indicate the volume of electricity load cut from the national grid as a result of the incident.

Repair works ongoing

However, she announced the immediate commencement of repair works at about 1.30 p.m, same day, to restore the capacity of the grid.

But, indications are that the incident has the potential to worsen the already precarious electricity supply situation in the country.

National grid under pressure

The grid has come under serious pressure in recent times as a result of several incidents resulting in the reduction in available electricity to areas across the country.

The government claims electricity generation capacity has climbed from 5,000 megawatts (MW) to above 7,000 MW.

But, the TCN, the agency responsible for transmitting available electricity to distribution companies for the consumer s, says the figure hovers between 4,000 and 4,500 MWs daily.

Two DISCOs disconnected from grid

Last week, the TCN, based on the order of the electricity systems operator,announced the suspensiontill further notice of two distribution companies – the Benin and Ikeja DISCOs -from further participation in the electricity market for alleged infraction of the rules.

As part of the suspension, some electricity transmission facilities of the two DISCOs were discoñnected from the national grid by TCN, till they have remedied the alleged infractions.

Although the two DISCOs said their managements commenced the process to get the TCN to rescind the action against them and restore their facilities and services, it wàs not immediately clear what volume of electricity was affected.

Mrs Mbah said the effort has so far restored the bulk power supply to most parts of the country within hours.

Ensuring voltage stability

Meanwhile, the TCN said it commenced the movement of another reactor to Benin City to replace the burnt reactor and ensure voltage stability in the city as well as prevent a re-occurrence.

It said it would also ensure a review of the entire protection and earthing system nationwide to prevent similar incidents in other parts of the country.

Mrs Mbah said this would be in addition to the overall upgrading of the system through the TREP programme being financed by multi-lateral donors.

She said the installation of 3Nos. reactors on the Ikot- Ekpene- Ugwuaji –Jos line has reached an advance stage.

“Once these three reactors are installed and commissioned, the grid would be further stabilized,” Mrs Mbah said.

“TCN Management wishes to assure Nigerians that it is doing everything possible to modernise, upgrade and stabilise the National Grid.”

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