• Oil & Gas - Energy
  • Updated: December 16, 2023

Nigerian power sector shakes as national grid collapses  

Nigeria, poised for dynamic growth has continued to grapple with a formidable challenge of persistent collapses of the national power grid.

In an enlightening interview at the Ogun State Secretariat, Oke-Mosan, Engineer Adesina Kazzem, a distinguished electrical engineering expert with the Ogun State government, provided profound insights into the complexities of the electrical grid. His expertise not only sheds light on the root causes of recurrent collapses but also explores potential pathways towards a more resilient power sector.

Engineer Adesina, a seasoned professional in electrical engineering, articulated the intricacies of the electrical grid as a sophisticated network comprising electrical lines and transmission lines. In the Nigerian context, he underscored the dual systems—the National Grid, acting as a central hub where various generating stations contribute to a unified grid. This nuanced understanding reflects Nigeria's commitment to a diversified and interconnected power network, which serves as the backbone of the nation's power infrastructure.

Delving into the challenges facing Nigeria's power sector, Engineer Adesina provided a clear definition of a grid collapse.

According to him, these events occur when imbalances in frequency or voltage disrupt the equilibrium, particularly during periods of demand exceeding the available supply. The consequences are far-reaching, with the frequency plummeting from a safe rate to an unsafe one, triggering the automatic shutdown of power plants and a cascading impact on all other plants across the country.

"The term "grid collapse" does not imply that a structure has collapsed. It signifies that there is a brief period of imbalance in the frequency or voltage, especially in the frequencies. When demand exceeds supply, the frequency may drop from a safe rate to an unsafe rate, and when it does, plants may shut down."

His insights demystify the technical complexities and offer a profound understanding of the factors contributing to the persistent challenges of maintaining a stable and reliable electrical grid system in Nigeria.

Impact on the national economy 

The continuous collapse of Nigeria's power grid has cast a shadow over the nation's business landscape. Businesses, both large and small, grapple with operational disruptions, increased costs, and a loss of competitiveness in the global market. The unreliable power supply forces companies to resort to alternative power sources, such as generators, leading to heightened operational expenses. Furthermore, the necessity of investing in redundant power systems, including uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems and backup generators, places a significant financial burden on businesses.

 Industries leaving Nigeria

The business impact extends to multinational corporations, exemplified by the relocation of industry giants like GSK and P&G. These companies have cited the lack of a stable power supply as a primary reason for their decision to move operations elsewhere. The migration of such corporations not only results in job losses but also contributes to diminished global competitiveness for Nigeria. The exodus of these entities is a testament to the profound consequences of the ongoing power crisis, highlighting the urgent need for systemic improvements.

Engineer Adesina added a quantitative layer to the discussion by revealing a startling statistic: "146 total collapses and 74 partial collapses in the last ten years."

This numerical backdrop emphasises the worrisome regularity and severity of grid outages, providing a clear depiction of Nigeria's electricity sector's ongoing issues.

Notably, the grid collapsed eight times in 2022 alone and three more times in the current year, 2023. The grid has collapsed 11 times between 2022 and the present.

The most recent of these occurrences occurred on December 10, 2023, highlighting the critical need for targeted initiatives to alleviate the country's electrical infrastructure vulnerabilities.

Engineer Adesina Kazzem's expert insights provide a comprehensive narrative on the challenges confronting Nigeria's power sector. As the nation navigates these obstacles, his expertise serves as a guiding light for implementing effective solutions and fostering a more resilient energy infrastructure.

Collaboration between experts like Engineer Adesina, coupled with concerted efforts within the public and private sectors, will be instrumental in steering Nigeria towards a future characterised by a stable, reliable, and robust power grid, thereby mitigating the adverse effects on businesses and encouraging the retention of multinational corporations.

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Lawrence Agbo
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