Power grid suffers 97 collapses since privatisation
The nation’s power grid recorded nearly 100 system collapses in five years and three months after the privatisation of the power sector.
The sector was privatised by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration with 11 electricity distribution companies and six generation companies handed over to core investors on November 1, 2013.
The Transmission Company of Nigeria, which manages the national grid, is still fully owned and operated by the government.
The grid collapsed 97 times (73 total and 24 partial collapses) between November 1, 2013 and January 31, 2019, data obtained by our correspondent from the TCN showed on Friday.
According to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, a total system collapse means total blackout nationwide, while partial system collapse is a failure of a section of the grid.
The grid has continued to suffer system collapse over the years amid a lack of spinning reserve that is meant to forestall such occurrences.
Spinning reserve is the generation capacity that is online but unloaded and that can respond within 10 minutes to compensate for generation or transmission outages.
Out of the five power stations meant to provide spinning reserves, none had any actual reserve as of 6am on Thursday, with the contracted reserve put at 295 megawatts.
The power stations are Egbin, Delta, Olorunsogo NIPP, Geregu NIPP and Omotosho NIPP.
NERC, in its latest quarterly report, said to prevent further decline in the grid stability, it would, in collaboration with the TCN, intensify its monitoring and supervision effort to ensure strict compliance with the System Operator’s directives “to generators on free governor and frequency control mode in line with the provisions of the subsisting operating codes in the industry.”
“Furthermore, the commission has approved the extraordinary application by the TCN to competitively procure spinning reserves. This is to guarantee adequate spinning reserves for proper management of the grid by the System Operator,” NERC added.
The System Operator is a division of the TCN responsible for the wheeling of electrons (electricity) from Gencos to Discos.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, TCN, Mr Usman Mohammed, said on Thursday that the grid achieved frequency control of 49.80 Hertz and 50.20Hz for 65 per cent of the time from December 29 to date.
He said, “This is exactly the same quality of frequency control that Ghana has. Our intention is to go to the next level and we are going to get there.
“The grid, as it is, is not run with spinning reserves, and this is how it was even before we took over. But for the first time, we have done competitive procurement of spinning reserves and we have forwarded to NERC 260 megawatts spinning reserves.
“We are expecting NERC will approve it any time from now because we have done all the consultations leading to the approval. Once NERC approves this and we deploy the spinning reserves, I am going to assure you that system collapse will be a thing of the past.”