Nigeria’s electricity distribution companies reported “a total system collapse” on Thursday, causing widespread blackouts across Africa’s biggest economy.
Adebayo Adelabu, minister for power, said fire had caused an explosion on a transmission line connecting the Kainji and Jebba power plants in north central Niger state, tripping the grid.
“The fire has been fully arrested and over half of the connections are now up and the rest will be fully restored in no time,” Adelabu said in a statement.
Power generation fell to 0MW in the early hours and had risen to 273MW by 10.30am GMT (12.30pm SAST), still well below the daily average of 4.1GW, data from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) showed.
TCN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Grid power supply is erratic in Nigeria, a major oil and gas producer, forcing households and businesses to use diesel and petrol generators.
“The cost of fuelling a generator is eating into our finances and, as a tech business that relies on power, this is a heavy burden to bear,” said Dickcion Bolodeku, an executive at technology firm Bayelsa Tech Hub in the southern oil-producing Bayelsa state, noting that President Bola Tinubu removed a subsidy on fuel in May.
In Lagos, despite enduring power cuts on an almost daily basis, some people were surprised at the nationwide blackout. Lagos-based Eko Electricity Distribution Company, one of the biggest, said grid power was being restored.
The grid collapsed at least four times in 2022, which authorities blamed on technical problems. Nigeria has 12.5GW of installed capacity but produces about a quarter of that.
President Tinubu has promised to improve supply by allowing state governments to build their own power plants in a bid to help spur sluggish economic growth. — MacDonald Dzirutwe and Tife Owolabi, (c) 2023 Reuters