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General News of Monday, 25 September 2023


National grid shutdown during strikes is unauthorized – Power Minister

Adebayo Adelabu Adebayo Adelabu

On Sunday, September 24, the Honorable Minister for Power, Adebayo Adelabu issued a warning to electricity workers who conduct unauthorized shutdowns of the national grid during industrial actions (strikes), stating that all stakeholders would be made to understand that such cannot happen again as it jeopardizes the wellbeing of households, industries and businesses.

The Minister stated this in a statement released via X (Twitter) after his visit to the National Control Center in Osun State on Friday, September 22.

In the statement, he also said his office is collaborating with the office of the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, to safeguard electricity installations in the country.

Meanwhile, he addressed the recent national grid collapse which caused a nationwide blackout.

According to him, the disruption was caused by a fire outbreak at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) sub-station facility in Kebbi State.

In the statement, Adelabu said he has officially initiated an investigation into the fire and if sabotage is revealed as the cause, he would act against the perpetrators.

He also said the goal of his office is to improve the reliability of the country’s power transmission system.

The statement read thus: “On Friday, we conducted an inspection tour of the National Control Centre facilities in Osogbo and the Osogbo sub-regional office of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

“The purpose of this inspection was to evaluate the condition of the facilities and equipment at the Control Center and determine the necessary upgrades to modernize them.

“Our goal is to enhance the services at the centre by incorporating advanced technologies, thereby improving the reliability and stability of power transmission through the national grid. Our primary focus is on expanding the electricity transmission capacity and implementing measures to significantly enhance the grid’s capacity.

“This will ensure a consistently stable national grid. To achieve this, we plan to conduct a simulation and stress-testing exercise on the National grid. The objective is to determine its current capacity and identify the necessary expansions to facilitate the transmission of more generated power to the grid for distribution to end consumers.

“In our efforts to improve the power sector, we will continue collaborating with relevant stakeholders. This collaboration aims to boost power generation and ensure the seamless transmission and distribution of electricity across the entire country.

“Furthermore, we have initiated an investigation to ascertain the circumstances that led to the fire outbreak at the TCN Sub-station facility in Kebbi State. This incident caused a disruption in the grid, resulting in a nationwide blackout for a few hours.

“The fire caused significant damage, including the destruction of transformers valued at millions of naira. To address this issue, we have established a high-level investigation panel to determine the cause of the fire outbreak.

“If the investigations reveal any acts of sabotage, culprits will face the full force of the law. There is a pressing need to prioritize the protection of the national grid by implementing adequate security measures to prevent acts of sabotage.

“To address this concern, we have initiated collaboration with the office of the National Security Adviser, Malam Nuhu Ribadu. The aim is to strengthen security around power installations across the country.

“Regarding unauthorized shutdowns of the national grid during industrial actions involving electricity workers, we consider such actions as acts of economic sabotage and threats to national security. We will engage all relevant stakeholders to ensure that such incidents do not occur under any circumstances in the future.

“Protecting the national grid is a shared responsibility that requires the participation of everyone. We must avoid any actions that could lead to a national blackout, as it not only poses dangers to our economy and national security but also jeopardizes the well-being of households, businesses, and industries.

“We commend the management and staff of the National Control Center for their commendable efforts in promptly restoring power whenever disruptions occur in the grid, despite the challenges posed by the ageing and deteriorating equipment and facilities at the centre. We also acknowledge the significant contributions of all stakeholders in the power sector in maintaining stability in electricity generation, transmission, and distribution.

“It is imperative that all stakeholders intensify their efforts to achieve further efficiency in delivering stable, affordable, and reliable electricity services to the nation.”