Why electricity system collapse will persist in Nigeria, by expert

By Sulaimon Salau
Nigerians may have to further endure more blackout as a result of frequent system collapse due to the integrity of the electricity transmission grid.

An industry expert and former General Manager, Corporate Communications, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Yakubu Lawal, has revealed that the power outages associated with system collapse from the national grid will not end soon, going by the capacity and poor integrity of the system.

Lawal, who disclosed this during a conversation on the critical issue on World stage, said the power outages are forcing industries to rely on alternative power while increasing the cost of production.

This situation, according to him, has led to the high cost of products and services in the domestic market.

This year, the electricity grid has collapsed more than seven times, causing blackouts and leaving businesses and homes counting their losses.

Lawal enjoined the government and the stakeholders to endeavour to inject more transmission facilities and distribution transformers for the nation to enjoy a reliable power supply.

“We have a fragile network to the extent that any little obstruction to the system, will trigger off the network and the system collapses. The capacity of transmission companies to wheel power is not so much. They are talking about 4,000 Mega Watts (MW) or 5,000MW, but in actual sense, they cannot wheel 4,000MW consistently for three hours.

“We now find a situation whereby the generation companies generate power, but for the national grid to evacuate the power becomes a problem. That is why when you visit any of the control rooms in any of the generation companies, the control centre keep asking them to shut down one unit or the other, just to make sure they are able to balance the load so that it will not affect the network.

“Ordinarily, the scenario is that if you have, for instance, 7,000MW generation capacity, you should be able to boast of something above 8,000MW transmission capacity.

And when you come to distribution, you should be able to have a capacity higher than the generation and transmission.

“If you have that kind of scenario, the transmission will be able to handle it conveniently and the distribution will also be able to absorb them conveniently for the general public to enjoy,” he explained.

Lawal said it may be painful to know that Nigeria has not come to the end of power system collapse. “It is not something you can overcome overnight. You will have to inject more facilities, you will have to inject power transformers, you have to improve the connectivity of your transmission lines and ensure you have a stable and consistent capacity level. But as it is today, I can tell you that we have not seen the end of the system collapse.

“Power is central to development. So, when the reliability is questionable, then it has implications. Using alternative power for critical operations means additional costs to the business. It means you have to run on petrol or diesel, and diesel is now very costly. This will invariably increase the cost of operation or production and this means that the cost will be transferred to the poor consumers,” he said.

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