Despite huge resources invested into the national grid and hope for better sector after privatisation, the nation’s power sector recorded about 123 system collapses in seven years, from between 2013 to 2019.
Investigations, however, revealed a trend of systemic failure as two of the system collapses recorded in January 2019, also reoccurred in January 2020.
Scores of the ‘Total Grid System collapse’ occurred after the entire electricity grid went off for several hours. There were also cases of ‘Partial Grid System’ Collapse’ when a section of the country was thrown into darkness for hours due to major transmission line trips. Investigations further revealed that the highest incidences of system collapse occurred in 2016, with 28 incidences. In 2013, when preparations for the privatization were topmost, there were 22 total system collapses while partial trappings occurred twice, summing to 24 collapses. The post-privatization era also had its fair share of system collapse.
Although the situation improved in 2014 as records showed that there were nine total collapses and four partial ones. This trouble persisted in 2015, with a record of six total and four partial collapses. In 2016, the grid tripped for 22 times and went off partially six times.
Investigations further revealed that in 2017, there were 15 total and nine partial collapses, while 12 total collapses and one partial collapses were recorded in 2018. At least 11 total collapses were recorded in 2019; four of which occurred in January. The six others were spread across February to December. Investigations also revealed that a major impediment to addressing this challenge is the lack of spinning reserve in the transmission line.
Meanwhile, a stakeholder who spoke to news man called for a holistic approach to solving crisis in the power sector. Reacting to the persistence of system collapse in the power sector, Professor Wumi Iledare, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Professor & Chair in Petroleum Economics & Management, Institute for Oil and Gas Studies, Cape Coast, Ghana, lamented that the power sector if flooded with “Epileptic power supply, transmission losses, vandalism of pipelines, DISCOs inefficiency will limit the potential for economic growth. Energy consumption grows an economy faster than energy production, especially, if the latter is mostly for export.
“Governance and pricing framework is key along the value chain. Another challenge is the market structure and conduct. The electric power sector with respect to power generation is more of oligopolistic in structure but the distribution is more of hybrid market structure tending towards a captive monopoly. “Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of understanding of this structure in terms of performance. Here lies then the issue that needs to be resolved! The power of Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is frequently undermined by economic populism of the National Assembly.