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National Grid Collapses, Plunges Lagos Into Darkness

The Electricity Transmission System also known as National grid on Friday suffered a partial collapse, which plunged the whole of Lagos, Ibadan and environ into total darkness for about 37 minutes.

Electricity supply were, as a result of the collapse, which occured at 12:58 pm, cut to Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC); Ikeja Electric (IE) and Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) until around 1:35 pm. Sources at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), an agency in charge of the grid, confirmed the incident, adding that the grid has been restored.

It had earlier disclosed that subsequent collapse of the National Grid cannot be totally avoided in the country. In a statement entitled: “TCN Restores Supply After System Collapse,” the company explained that as National Grid is still being operated with zero spinning reserve, system instability like the partial system disturbance might not be avoidable and the reoccurrence of shut down like the one of yesterday is inevitable.

The company disclosed that though full restoration had been achieved, the grid was still recovering from an earlier partial system disturbance. The nation’s electricity grid, it would be recalled, had collapsed more than108 times after the power sector was privatised, data from the Transmission Company of Nigeria have shown. The TCN, which manages the national grid, is still fully owned and operated by the government.

While the TCN said the grid had a wheeling capacity of 8,100MW, the highest power generation ever attained in the country stands slightly above 5,375MW. 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. Between November 1, 2013 and May 2020, the number of total grid collapse recorded was 83 while the grid partially collapsed 25 times.

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A total system collapse means total blackout nationwide, while partial system collapse is a failure of a section of the grid, according to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission. The grid has continued to suffer system collapse over the years amid 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.

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