Noting that the endless breakdown of the national power grid poses a significant challenge to Nigeria’s advancement, erstwhile Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, on Wednesday alleged that diesel suppliers and generator dealers are to blame over the crisis in the electricity sector.
Prime Business Africa recalls that about a month ago, an umpteenth collapse of the grid dropped electricity generation from a peak of 3,594.60 megawatts (MW) at about 1:00am on September 19 to a meagre 42.7MW. Five hours down the line, only Delta Power plant was active on the grid with 41.00MW while Afam had 1.7MW. That collapse happened barely five days after the national grid collapsed twice within hours leaving the country in total darkness.
That was on September 14, 2023 when data from the National System Operator, a semi-autonomous unit in the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) showed that the grid collapsed around 12.35 am. It collapsed again around 6.40am the same day, only to begin a slow recovery with load allocation to distribution companies at 585MW.
Reacting at the time, the TCN blamed the collapse on a fire incident on Kainji/Jebba 330KV Line 2, assuring that the incident is being investigated, with “the view to forestalling future occurrence and invariably further strengthening the grid.”
But featuring as guest during “The South East Political Roundtable” programme on Flo FM, Umuahia, Nnaji alleged that the power sector, just like every other sector in the country, had some cabal, who profit from the problems of epileptic electricity supply.
He maintained that the sector is being terribly sabotaged despite the Federal Government’s claim of spending N7 trillion as direct interventions in the power sector, even after privatising the electricity generation and distribution arms of the industry since November 2013
Nnaji, who is the Group Chairman of Geometric Power, Aba, identified diesel suppliers and generator sellers as obstacles to improved electricity supply in the country, stressing however that the industry needed professionals, who understood the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry to manage it.
His words, “There are two areas when you talk of cabal in the sector – the diesel suppliers and generator users. Nigeria is a big user of generator because of our enormous power need and those who are in the business would not want any interruption.
“The diesel suppliers feel that stable power supply would destroy their business. A graphic picture of how dangerous the diesel suppliers can be was experienced when we were in government, somewhere in this country, some men cut down 30KVA line to stop electricity supply to thousands of users.
“Unfortunately, the diesel supplying company sponsored the operation. Incidentally the power cable fell on one of them, who later confessed to the crime,” Nnaji disclosed.