By Adewale Sanyaolu
Nigerians, at the weekend, expressed their displeasure over the nation’s deteriorating power infrastructure after electricity transmission grid collapse left millions in darkness. It was the fourth of such incidents in year 2022.
With the inability of the managers of the transmission system to restore power supply to most parts of the country affected by the outage in over four days, consumers including households, industries and Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have blamed the government for being responsible for the problem.
They argued that the frequent system collapse was negative impacting their operations, especially in the face of rising Diesel price at over N600 per litre.
Speaking to Daily Sun in a telephone interview yesterday, former Minister of Power, Prof Barth Nnaji, said the frequent system collapse has become a national embarrassment.
He noted that electricity generation of less than 7,000MW for a population of over over 200 million was grossly inadequate.
Nnaji said a memo, which got Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval when he was Minister of Power on super grid model for the country’s transmission network, if implemented, would have solved the frequent system collapses.
He maintained that beyond generation, transmission is one critical arm of the value chain that needs urgent attention before the entire system goes under.
Also speaking, a former Chairman of the National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Mr. Segun Kuti-George, said this is a difficult time for manufacturers, adding that the two sources of energy are currently in dire strait.
He said there is nowhere to turn to at the moment because power supply from the grid system is non-existent, while Diesel which ought to be a back-up has risen astronomically.
Kuti-George said alternative power supply for his operation currently gulps over 400 per cent of his profit margin.
‘‘The issue of system collapse has become a recurring one that one would want to ask where all the funds allocated to the power sector has gone to since the days of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan and now President Muhammadu Buhari.”
In his reaction, an energy policy analyst and Partner, Bloomfield Law Practice, Mr. Ayodele Oni, said a number of things need to be done, adding that there is a need to ensure a more balanced supply across the grid, as the lopsided supply of power on the grid from the South, when compared to the North, is one of the problems.
Ayodele advised that decentralisation or energy federalism should be encouraged, whereby each state can manage their own grid system and not connected to a national grid, to reduce the pressure and then slightly modify the grid.
He equally noted that there is need to have functional equipment like Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), to quickly discover problems on the grid and resolve same, while the electricity management system has to also be improved.
‘There is need to ensure that ancillary services such as spinning reserves and black start are effective, and the market design is implemented. Our problems are not policies or brilliant ideas, but poor implementation. Vandalism needs to be stopped. The last collapse was as a result of vandalism.”