Nigerian power minister apologises for recent blackouts

The minister gave reasons for the outages.

The Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, on Monday in Abuja apologised for the recent power supply interruption to some states of the federation.

A statement signed by the minister said the disruption of power supply to states like Bayelsa on May 17 was caused by the collapse of a terminal tower caused by severe tropical rain storm.

He said because of this, the ministry and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), promptly mobilised contractors who immediately restored one of the lines on June 1.

According to him, a permanent restoration of the transmission is expected to be completed in about 40 days.

He added that the recent power failure in states like Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara and even Niamey in Niger Republic was due to rain storm which led to the collapse of three units of 330kV towers. He noted that the ministry was now restoring the supply by utilising spare towers available to the TCN.

Mr. Nebo said that in view of the damage on the towers, the timeline for complete restoration of supply to the affected areas was end of June.

He said there was a drop in service delivery on May 24 on the main 330kV transmission lines in the South West axis of the national grid, adding that it “led to the significant loss in the amount of transmission capacity which eventually resulted in total system collapse’’.

The minister said that the unfortunate incident coincided with the ongoing repairs at the Ughelli Power plant hence the prolonged delay in restoring the system.

Other recent systems collapse occurred due to system disturbances which led to the tripping of the Egbin power plant and resulted in the loss of about 25 per cent of the current generation capacity, he added.

“It is important to mention that such disturbances to the national supply systems usually peak at the commencement of the rainy season across the country.

“This is usually a natural phenomenon owing to our geographical peculiarities and the ministry is fully aware of the constraints and limitations of the nation’s transmission network.

“The ministry wishes to assure Nigerians that the Transmission Company of Nigeria Plc is repositioned and being funded to meet the expectations and requirements,’’ Mr. Nebo said.

He said a technical investigative panel, headed by F. M. A. Olapade, a retired director in the ministry, has been set up to investigate the recent power outages.

Mr. Nebo stated that the investigative panel was expected to submit its report in two weeks, adding that the government was determined to ensure restoration of normalcy within the shortest possible time.

The minister said that in spite of the disruptions, average peak power generation for May was 4,225 MW which was a slight decrease from 4,518 MW recorded in April.


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