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‘Power grid has collapsed 14 times this year’

‘Power grid has collapsed 14 times this year’

Minister of Power Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola

The country’s electricity grid has already collapsed 14 times since the beginning of this year, according to documents obtained from the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

Findings showed that power generation remained unstable in the second quarter of the year, rising above 4,000 megawatts and crashing to around 2,000MW on different occasions.

The grid collapsed four times in the second quarter of the year, as against 10 times in the preceding quarter.

Industry documents obtained by our correspondent on Friday in Abuja showed that the highest rate of system collapse was recorded in January, as the grid crashed six times in the first month of 2017.

While the grid recorded 10 collapses in the first quarter of the year, the quantum of spinning reserve aimed at forestalling such occurrence was low during the period.

Spinning reserve is the generation capacity that is online but unloaded and can respond within 10 minutes to compensate for generation or transmission failure.

In January, the grid recorded a peak generation of 4,160.4MW, but witnessed six collapses, as it crashed to 10MW, 108MW, 49.2MW, 112.2MW, 147.2MW and 182.1MW on the 15th, 16th, 18th, 25th, 27th and 28th, respectively.

It collapsed three times in February and recorded a peak generation of 4,777.5MW, which currently stands as the highest quantum of electricity generation recorded in the country this year.

Grid collapses were recorded on February 1, 4 and 22, as it crashed to 143MW, 25MW and 320.5MW, respectively.

Only one collapse was recorded in March, bringing the total number of grid collapse in the first quarter to 10.

Officials at the ministries of Petroleum Resources and Power, Works and Housing attributed the reduction in grid collapse in February and March to the increase in the supply of gas to fire about 80 per cent of power generation plants across the country.

They told our correspondent that discussions between the Federal Government and militants in the Niger Delta region paid off, adding that this led to a significant drop in the spate at which pipelines were being vandalised.

The documents further showed that while the months of May and June witnessed one system collapse each, the situation occurred twice in April.

The power grid collapsed from 3,069.5MW to 108.7MW on April 9, and moved up marginally to 240MW the next day, while on April 26, it crashed to 113.6MW, down from the 3,222.5MW that was recorded the preceding day.

The system collapses in April were due to frequency constraints on the grid.

However, after about six weeks without recording a collapse, the grid eventually crashed on Tuesday, dropping from a peak of 4,141.5MW to 78.4MW following a sharp decline in frequency from 50.28 hertz to 47.00Hz.

It was learnt that the recent collapse was caused by the tripping and non-functionality of some electricity lines, a development that prompted the decline in system frequency.

Figures from the sector showed that the most recent system collapse before Tuesday’s incident occurred on May 8, 2017, when power generation crashed to 188.1MW from a peak of 4,196.1MW.

Aside the 188.1MW, the least quantum of electricity generated in May was 2,316MW, while the highest for the month was 4,553.9MW.

However, in June, power producers generated 4,451MW as the highest for the month, while the least, aside the crash to 78.4MW, was 1,996.6MW.

In its report on the most recent grid collapse, the National Control Centre of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, said, “System collapse occurred at 17:40hrs on June 27, 2017. System frequency declined sharply from 50.28Hz to 47.00Hz and this was followed by a collapse. The Benin/Omotosho 330kV line (cct B5M) CBs tripped at both ends. Also, the Omotosho/Ikeja West 330kV line (cct M5W) has been out of service on maintenance work.”

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