Within the span of a week lately, the national power grid collapsed three times, plunging the nation into darkness each time and leaving a trail of frantic efforts to restore electricity supply. From a peak of 3,594.60MW in one of the instances, power transmission dropped to a meagre 42.7MW. The consequences of such incessant collapse are grave for a nation struggling to get its economy back on track. According to reports, the national grid collapsed eight times in 2022, and it appears that 2023 will not fair better with the frequency of collapse so far.
This trend should be unacceptable to the new administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as it aspires to deliver on is Renewed Hope agenda. Curiously, the new Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, did not speak to the public specifically on the recent grid collapses and the plans being pursued to avert a reoccurrence. In his inaugural address, the minister had raised hope that things would be done differently under his watch, as he promised to address the challenges of the national power grid. He also promised to leverage on technology and the bursting energy of talented youths to achieve the goals of the ministry under his care. All eyes are on him to make good on these promises expeditiously for the benefit of Nigerians.
While it may be too early to expect the current administration to resolve the sheer fitfulness of the national power grid, Nigerians want to know what the minister will be doing differently to stem the ugly experience of perennial grid collapse under past administrations. The immediate past administration mooted the idea of using technology to monitor the national grid, and also promised to decentralize the national grid and resort to mini-grids to take pressure off the main grid. Are these proposals still on the cards, and if so, what is the projected schedule for their implementation?
JUST IN: Outage in southeast as national power grid collapses again
Thankfully President Tinubu, in June, assented to the Electricity Act 2023 that allows states to generate and transmit electricity to consumers. Already, some state governments are planning to key into the new legal regime and we expect the federal Ministry of Power to provide leadership and template for collaboration with the states to take pressure off the national grid. We recall that Geometric Power Company Limited in Abia State has a private power grid in place, and the minister could examine if this facility could serve as a pilot for public-private partnership.
It bears restating that collapses of the national grid further undermine the national economy that is already in dire straits and could hamper the economic revival plans of the current administration. With runaway inflation being experienced, especially with regards to food prices, whatever needs to be done to stem incessant national power grid collapse must be done in earnest. Apart from the effect of the collapse on productivity, lack of electricity also impedes the culture of preserving food items procured at very high costs.
The claim of economic sabotage attributed to the minister as being responsible for power grid collapses, without further explanation of where, how and the projected remedy is not acceptable. If the collapses are as a result of sabotage, then the saboteurs should be fished out and dealt with according to the law. The national power grid is a critical national asset, and no effort should be spared by relevant agencies of government to protect it. We therefore urge national intelligence agencies to unravel the sabotage and apprehend those behind it.
Nigerians anxiously await the roadmap by the new Minister of Power to improve national electricity supply and end incessant grid collapses. As the minister promised in his inaugural address, we expect him to consult with his predecessors in office to gain from their experiences and take counsel were needed. As he well knows, electricity is at the core of the much awaited economic revival under the Tinubu administration. Explanations that have been offered by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) would amount to mere excuses unless it leads to stabilization of the national grid.