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Explainers - 2 weeks ago

National Grid Collapse: First Time in Over a Year Shakes Confidence in Nigeria’s Electrical Infrastructure

Nigeria’s national grid experienced a total system collapse, marking the first such incident in over a year. The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) Plc confirmed the collapse, stating that it occurred at about 12:40 am. Ndidi Mbah, the spokesperson for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), also verified the development, saying, “It is a system collapse, but we are trying to restore it.”

The collapse has led to a loss of electrical supply across the distribution company’s interface, affecting states like Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo. The National Control Centre (NCC) in Osogbo is yet to provide detailed information about the collapse and the ongoing restoration efforts.

What is a Power Grid?

Photo: WTS Energy

A power grid is an interconnected network for delivering electricity from producers to consumers. It consists of generating stations that produce electrical power, high-voltage transmission lines that carry power from distant sources to demand centres, and distribution lines that connect individual customers. The grid is designed to operate within specific stability limits related to voltage, current, and frequency. When these limits are not maintained, the grid can become unstable and may collapse, leading to a total or partial loss of electrical supply.

Significance of the Collapse

This incident is particularly noteworthy because the national grid had maintained uninterrupted stability for over 400 consecutive days, according to the TCN. The last reported system collapse was in September 2022. The recent collapse raises questions about the resilience and reliability of Nigeria’s power infrastructure, especially given the country’s history of grid failures. Between 2010 and 2019, Nigeria experienced 206 grid collapses, comprising 146 total collapses and 73 partial collapses.

Impact on Businesses and Citizens

The collapse of the power grid has immediate and far-reaching consequences. Businesses, already grappling with a surge in fuel and diesel prices, now have to deal with power outages that could severely affect operations. For the general populace, the collapse means poor or erratic power supply, adding to the economic woes of citizens.

Government Response

Abubakar Aliyu, the Minister of Power, has convened an emergency meeting with stakeholders in the power sector to address the current electricity situation. While no statement has been made regarding the outcome of the meeting, the government is under pressure to find a lasting solution to the country’s power challenges.

The recent collapse of Nigeria’s national grid serves as a wake-up call for all stakeholders in the country’s power sector. As efforts are underway to restore the grid, questions about the system’s reliability and the country’s preparedness for such incidents remain unanswered.

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