By Udeme Akpan
ELECTRICITY accidents in Nigeria’s power sector have dropped by 27 percent to 167 incidents in the first half of 2021, (H1’21), from 228 incidents recorded in the corresponding period of 2020, according the quarterly reports of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC.
The reports obtained by Vanguard, weekend, indicated that the highest incident of 86 were recorded in the second quarter of 2021, while the least of 81 were recorded in the first quarter. The sector also recorded 50 deaths during the period compared to 35 recorded in the corresponding period of 2020, indicating a decrease of 43 percent.
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Specifically, the first quarter 2021 report, stated: “The Commission received 81 accident reports from the licenced operators during the first quarter of 2021. The accidents, unfortunately, resulted in 24 deaths and 13 injuries of various degrees involving both employees of the companies and third parties.
“The commission, in line with its mandate to ensure safe and reliable electricity services, has commenced enforcement on some of the incidents involving various safety breaches during the quarter. On account of its zero tolerance on safety breaches in NESI and in line with its strategic goals 2021-2023, the commission has continued to intensify its monitoring and implementation of various safety programmes aimed at reducing accidents in NESI.
“The safety programmes implemented by the commission include, but not limited to, the standardisation of system protection schemes, public enlightenment on the safe use of electricity, a review of an operational procedure for Distribution System Operators, DSO, on fault clearing and engagement of stakeholders on Right of Way, RoW, violation.” The second quarter report also, stated: “During the second quarter of 2021, the Commission received a total of 86 mandatory health and safety reports from licensees.”
However, commenting on the development, Group Managing Director, GMD Sahara Power Group, Kola Adesina, attributed it to population growth and other factors. He said: “Population is growing; consumption is growing, power assets are not growing in the same proportion. Mainly, third party illegal tampering and by pass are the major causes. Badly, we have to keep policing to detect, prevent and restore lines. We can also seek to enforce as well as invest more, especially in projects and programmes Law enforcement and investment.”
Similarly, President, Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, Kunle Olubiyo, who attributed some accidents to vandalism and other factors, said: “The accidents could also be attributed to the planning and construction of properties in the sector and nation. There are cases where cheap materials, including cables culminated in accidents. Illegal wiring and energy theft also lead to accidents in the sector because they over stretch available supply, leading to explosion.”
Recently, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, had disclosed that a fire outbreak caused by a vandalised pipeline along Isheri Olofin, off Igando – LASU expressway in Lagos had caused massive damage to 330kV Ikeja-West Akangba
transmission line 1, leading to the collapse of five power towers.
A statement by TCN General Manager, Public Affairs, Ndidi Mbah, explained that the inferno burnt off a large portion of the conductor. “This triggered a resistant pull on the high-tension towers along the line route causing five of them to collapse”, she added.
Mbah stated that the incident which “is estimated to have occurred at about 00.29 in the early hours of Friday, burnt a wide portion of the 330kV transmission line which wheels 145MW of bulk power to the Akangba Substation. The transmission towers affected are the two closest to the site of the incident and three across the Lagos Canal.
“As a result of the incident, there is a major reduction of bulk power wheeled to TCN’s 330/132/33kV Akangba Transmission Substation in Lagos, however, due to the fact that the substation takes supply from two different 330kV transmission lines, with the second being the redundant line, TCN will rearrange bulk electricity transmitted on that line route to the second 330kV previously carrying 59MW”.
He noted that TCN was successfully back-feeding the substations affected by the towers collapse, while the engineers were patrolling the second 330kV transmission line that tripped due to the incident, to ensure it has no fault before it is energised. “Once it is energised, supply will be restored to all the substations affected by the incident from the second 330kV transmission line, as the load carried by the burnt 330kV line will now be transferred to the second line.
“This kind of incident is a major setback to the implementation of our grid expansion and stability under our well-articulated Electricity Grid Maintenance, Expansion and Rehabilitation Programme. This is because the re-erection of five towers and restringing of the 330kV transmission line is a major project that costs a lot of money and will take a while to complete”.
TCN appealed to “Nigerians to desist from activities such as oil bunkering, and other destructive tendencies, as they all have very far-reaching negative effects on the nation at large. The issue of protecting our national assets is imperative. Protecting national assets is one that must be taken very seriously so that the stability of the nation’s network and the development of the nation is not compromised”.
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