*Says grid collapse caused by fire incident on Kanji/Jebba 330kV line 2
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja and Peter Uzoho in Lagos
Following the collapse of the power grid that occured in the early hours of yesterday, which caused nationwide blackout, with adverse impacts on homes and businesses, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has assured Nigerians that efforts were in top gear to restore supply.
It was gathered that TCN engineers had gone to work to restore normalcy when the incident happened, including first restoring about 35mw, and then ramped it up to 193mw and then 273mw before their efforts suffered a setback, resulting in another failure.
The government-owned TCN in a statement signed by its General Manager, Public Affairs, Ndidi Mbah, disclosed that the system collapse was caused by a fire incident that occurred on Kanji/Jebba 330kV line 2, which was being investigated by the agency.
Mbah stated, "The TCN hereby notes that grid restoration nationwide is in progress and has reached advanced stages with power supply now available in the West, North Central, South, East, and a large portion of the Northern parts of the country. "The power supply restoration is sequel to the total grid collapse, which occurred at about 12.35 am, this morning, causing outage nationwide, after over 421 days of consistent grid stability.
"In the course of the grid restoration, the process initially suffered a setback; this does not amount to another collapse. In the course of any grid restoration process, challenges may be encountered. This happened today while the grid restoration was in progress, but it was promptly addressed." According to Mbah, the last total system collapse recorded was on 20th July 2022, and 13th September, 2023, which was a 421-days gap. She said prior to yesterday's collapse, the system had been stable in spite of the challenges posed by zero spinning reserve and lack of System Control and lack of adequate Data Acquisition (SCADA) essential to a strong and stable grid, among others.
Mbah, added that TCN had been able to maintain 400 days of grid stability because it developed and deployed in-house stop-gap measures and tools that it had continued to use to manage the nations grid and ensuring its stability. "The incident notwithstanding, TCN is determined to continue to do its best to ensure grid stability.
"Meanwhile, the collapse that occurred after a fire incident on Kanji/Jebba 330kV line 2 is being investigated, with the view to forestalling future occurrence and invariably further strengthen the grid", the TCN spokesperson noted. The national electricity grid had collapsed in the wee hours of yesterday, the first of such collapse in the administration of President Bola Tinubu, leading to supply disruption by all the distribution companies (Discos) and plunging Nigerian homes and businesses into blackout.
This happened while the nation's Minister of Power, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu was reportedly in Busan, South Korea, where he was participating at the ongoing Korean-African Economic Cooperation Ministerial Conference 2023. The latest grid collapse also marked the first in one year after September 25, 2022, when power generation on the system crashed from over 3,700MW to as low as 38MW.
Some of the Discos alerted their customers about the development and its implication on supply to them. THISDAY gathered that as of 7:a.m. on Thursday morning, the TCN failed to transmit power to the 11 Discos as power grid dropped from 4,355.2MW on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, to 0MW on Thursday, September 2023.
As a result of the development, electricity generation from all the generating plants dropped to OMW, including Afam VI (gas/steam), Dadinkowa G.S (hydro), Delta (gas), Geregu (gas), Geregu NIPP (gas), Ibom Power (gas), Jebba (hydro), Okpai (gas/steam), and Olorunsogo (gas). Nigeria depends on just between 3,500mw and 4,500mw for its over 200 million population, making it one of the least electrified nations in the world. This is despite the power sector's partial privatisation in 2013 and trillions of naira sunk into the sector by government.
The national grid system is operated by the TCN from Osogbo in Osun state. Many plants, were affected, including Afam VI, which at some point had just 0.70MW, Dadinkowa with zero mw, Ibom power had 32.90mw, Jebba was still struggling with 240mw while Olorunsogo also suffered zero generation, before finally shutting down. The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc (EEDC) was one of the first Discos to notify its customers of the development, telling them it was completely out of supply at the time.
"EEDC wishes to inform her esteemed customers of a total system collapse which occurred at 12:40am today, 14th September, 2023. This has resulted to the loss of supply currently being experienced across the network. "Due to this development, all our interface TCN stations are out of supply, and we are unable to provide service to our customers in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States. "We are on standby awaiting detailed information of the collapse and restoration of supply from the National Control Centre (NCC), Osogbo," a statement signed by the Head, Corporate Communications EEDC, Emeka Ezeh, stated.
Also, Eko Disco told its customers that its feeders were all were all out of supply as a result of the system collapse from the TCN. "The outage you are currently experiencing on all our feeders is due to system collapse from TCN, while Iganmu feeder is out on a fault. Our customers will be restored to power supply as soon as the system improves. Fault clearing will commence on Iganmu feeder today," it stated.
Also explaining the situation on his Twitter/X handle, the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, confirmed that the fire led to about 356.63mw generation loss. "At 00:35 hours this morning, a fire outbreak with an explosion sound was observed on Kainji/Jebba 330kV line 2 (Cct K2J) blue phase CVT & Blue phase line Isolator of Kainji/Jebba 330kV line1 was observed burning.
"This led to sharp drops in frequency from 50.29Hz to 49.67 Hz at 0:35:06Hrs with Jebba generation loss of 356.63mw," Adelabu said, adding that Kainji then started dropping load from 451.45 mw at 00:35:07 hours to zero. "At 00:41 hours frequency dropped further from 49.37 Hz to 48.41 Hz resulting in the system collapse of the grid. "We are on top of the situation and speedy restoration is in progress. The fire has been fully arrested and over half of the connections are now up and the rest will be fully restored in no time.
"My sincere appreciation to those who responded or expressed concern via different channels and the team of engineers for their prompt response to the situation and work done so far. Let's get the restoration work completed as soon as possible," he said. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had outlined the number of grid collapse cases in Nigeria in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 as 13, 11, four and four, respectively.
Industry data also showed that the electricity grid recorded about seven collapses in 2022, with the most recent grid collapse occurring on September 25, 2022, when power generation on the system crashed from over 3,700MW to as low as 38MW.
Nigeria's power grid experienced the sixth collapse on July 20, 2022. There was a system collapse on June 13, two collapses in March and twice again in April in the year under review.