Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The nationwide blackout experienced in most parts of the country on Wednesday and Thursday following a collapse of the power grid is to continue in some locations as the grid is still unstable despite efforts to have it fully restored.
It was gathered on Friday from the Transmission Company of Nigeria that the national grid collapse of Wednesday and Thursday was the worst ever that had occurred in the sector in the past three years.
The PUNCH had reported on Friday that there was total blackout in Abuja and neighbouring states for several hours on Thursday following the collapse of the power grid, which led to a near zero allocation to the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company.
AEDC is the power firm that supplies electricity to the Federal Capital Territory, Nasarawa, Niger and parts of Kogi state.
But it was learnt on Friday that the blackout did not only happen in AEDC franchise areas, rather most parts of the country did not get power supply on Wednesday and Thursday, while many other parts were yet to receive power as of Friday.
Speaking in Abuja, the Managing Director, TCN, Usman Mohammed, said, “The process of restoring the grid takes time. Now if you look at where we are now, we are still at the process of restoration. We have reached almost the whole of the country now but I cannot tell that we are at the stage where one can say the grid is stable.
“This is because as we restore supply to a particular place, distribution also has to pick the load and these activities are done gradually. When we are restoring supply after a system collapse, we also don’t allow them to pick the load all of a sudden because the generators are coming in gradually.”
He added, “However, right now, I can tell you that we have reached the whole country and up to Niger and Cotonou, but still at that I can tell you that we are not at the normal state yet. Usually, it takes about 24 hours for us to reach the normal state.”
Mohammed stated that the recent system collapse was the worst he had ever encountered since he took over the leadership of TCN.
He said, “Since I became the MD of TCN, the system instability recorded in the last two days (Wednesday and Thursday) was the worst, because there was no time that we had a system instability where the restoration took a longer time like this.
“And the reason is – we had a high voltage caused by the fact that electricity load was being rejected by the Discos. And the load was not being picked because of weak distribution network. So that is the reason for that instability.”
On the need for investment in power distribution, he said, “We cannot have a stable grid unless we have adequate investment on the distribution side and that is why we have been calling for a recapitalisation of the distribution companies. They need to have a commensurate investment on the network.”