• Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

GENCOs say National Grid has Collapsed 136 Times Since 2013

ByJustice Godfrey Okamgba

Oct 21, 2022
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The Association of Electricity Generation Companies (GenCos) on Thursday blamed the transmission company of Nigeria (TCN), excessively unpredictable load from steel mills, and a lack of most transmission lines for the ongoing breakdown of the nation’s power system.

The GENCOs Executive Secretary Joy Ogaji said that the national grid was offline 136 times between 2013 and 2022 at the investigative session convened at the request of the House Committee on Power, chaired by Hon. Magaji Aliyu.

She noted that, at the rate of 4000MW power generation currently being generated, Nigeria is doing about 31MW per annum, so “we need to ask ourselves if we really need to grow or if we are building industry,” noting that the privatization of the power sector will have been in place for exactly 9 years by October 25 of this year.

According to her, “in 2013 there were two partial and two total (national grid collapse); I was asking some senior engineers and they told me there was no difference between partial and total.

“In 2014, there were 4 partial collapses and there were 9, totaling 13; in 2015 we have a total of 10, in 2016, we have a total of 28; in 2017 we have a total of 24; in 2018 we have a total of 13; in 2019 we have a total of 10; in 2020 we have a total of four; in 2021 we have a total of 4, and in 2022, from January till date, we have a total of 6, bringing the total from 2013 to date to 136 times. The year with the highest number of grid collapses was 2016,” she noted.

While acknowledging that the rate of grid collapse has been on the decrease, she explained that the “grid collapse is reducing because Gencos’ machines are now being used to manage the grid contrary to the grid code provision and you will see that 97% of the time, the grid is on a very high frequency; 51 point something hertz and I have the evidence for anybody that wants to see, I have been tracking it since 2015.

One of the reasons we have found is there is an excessive volatile load, mostly through steel mills. The Nigerian network has over 50 steel mills connected to the grid with heavy loads of 3 to 35 megawatts going from minimum to maximum in a continuous circuit of 6–10 minutes.

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“Service interruption due to the inability of Discos to take note, weak grid conditions forcing apparatus disruption, TCN radial lines. Most TCN lines are radial, not double-circuit, thereby limiting the redundancy in the system, which increases system instability.

“Inadequate and old infrastructure to meet demands, transmission, and distribution manned by insufficient engineers and technicians, poor communication and coordination of activities between TCN and Discos.”

But in his presentation earlier, the Minister of State for Power, Godwin Jeddy- Agba refuted the claims of grip collapse, saying that none has occurred this year.

He would rather call them system disruptions, which he said had human elements or were politically motivated.

He said: “So, please let us understand that we have not had any collapses this year. We have had disruptions and disruptions could lead to blackouts. A blackout is not a collapse.”

These ones we have had this year, in fact, four of them but they have not been a collapse, it is disruption. And disruptions have been a result of human factors, they could be increment factors, they could be political factors, it could be other factors. 

“For instance, sometime last month we had a blackout for a short while. It was due to, and we saw on social media, some young men switching off the system, which is not a collapse. That is deliberate vandalism. In fact, it is sabotage if you ask my opinion.

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