• Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Why Nigeria experiences intermittent national grid collapse – GenCos

State, private investors prioritise metering to build power market

The Electricity Generation Companies (GenCos) Ogaji has blamed the intermittent national grid in the country on excessive volatile load mostly through steel mills and the weak Transmission Company of Nigeria’s (TCN) infrastructure, most of which are over 25 years old.

The GenCos also cited instability and unavailability of most transmission lines as contributing to the grid collapse, which usually plunges the country into darkness.

Joy Ogaji, the executive secretary of the Association of Power Generation Companies, stated this in a presentation before the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating frequent national grid collapses in the country, Thursday, in Abuja.

Ogaji said: “The grid collapse is because GenCos machines are now being used to manage the grid contrary to the grid code provision and you will see that 97 percent 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.

“Why a grid collapse, one of the reasons we have found is, there is excessive volatile load mostly through steel mills. The Nigerian network has over 50 steel mills connected to the grid with a heavy load from 3 to 35 megawatts going from minimum to maximum; minimum in a continuous circuit of 6-10 minutes.”

Other reasons she advanced include: “Service interruption due to the inability of the Discos to take note, weak grid conditions forcing apparatus disruption, TCN radial lines, most of 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.”

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However, Godwin Jeddy-Agba, the minister of state for power said, there has been no system collapse this year but system disruptions which are different from collapse.

“Please, let us understand that we have not had any collapse this year. We have had disruptions and disruptions could lead to blackouts, a blackout is not a collapse. The ones we have had this year were not collapse, but 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, that is not a collapse.

That is deliberate vandalization; in fact, it is sabotage if you ask for my opinion. How can young men go and switch off the system, putting into darkness just because of some grudges which by the grace of God is a union matter. I am handling that, and I assure you Mr Speaker, that that matter is being brought to book and at the end of this week, our report will be submitted and the union and us will agree on something and it will never happen again.

“So having made it clear to us that we have not had system collapse, let us take it from the point of disruptions that I have told you; one is from the union, second is from the communities. Like what happened in Akwa-Ibom, the communities disrupted something last year, somewhat early this year, we had a blackout in the south-south part of the country.

“Thirdly, we have had problems with gas. The gas supply is too high for our power generating stations. Gas supply has been a problem but we are tackling that already because we are discussing with the NNPC and Nigerian Gas Corporation. We are coming to an agreement and gas is flowing systematically now to the generating companies and we are seeing a steady increment in generation.

On his part, Sule Abdullaziz, the managing director of TCN said there had been four system collapses and two partial collapses, adding that the agency has a transition capacity of 8,100 megawatts.

He said: “We have four system collapse, then we have two partial collapse and this is what we submitted. On transmission capacity, we have a capacity of 8,100 megawatts. There is no day when generation companies will say we have generated so much megawatts and TCN is unable to evacuate it. We challenge generation companies to come out and show any day we could not evacuate,” he said.