By Levinus Nwabughiogu

The House of Representatives yesterday mandated its Committee on Power to conduct an investigation into the root causes of incessant national grid collapse in the country.

The committee will also look at the capacity of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, to address the ugly trend with the aim of forestalling future occurrences and protecting socio-economic environment.

The investigation was sequel to the consideration of a motion of urgent public importance moved at plenary by Sani Bala.

Presenting the motion, Bala noted that the national grid collapse occurred when there were system disturbances along the transmission lines connecting a number of generating stations.

He said:  “Since 2013 when the privatisation exercise took place in the power sector, the country has witnessed over a hundred national grid collapses; a challenge which experts and operators said would linger for a long time if not addressed.

“Only this year, the national grid has collapsed seven times (more than the three times recorded last year), thereby, causing national power outages with enormous socio-economic implications.

“The latest in the series of power failures has been adjudged among the worst the country has witnessed in recent times, which in turn indicates that there is no framework or spinning reserve meant to forestall such occurrences.

“It is incomprehensible that all the key power plants in the country, including Egbin, Utorogu, Chevron Oredo, Oben gas-fired power plants, Ughelli, and Chevron Escravos power plants could all shut down at once.

“The issue of system collapse may not be unconnected with the Transmission Company of Nigeria’s lack of wheeling capacity, inadequate transmission lines and spinning reserves  as well as refusal to fast-track construction of digital control centres instead of the Company’ current analog system.

“Available statistics from research show that if the power generated is adequately wheeled and transmitted for distribution to consumers, there will be a 30 per cent reduction in the cost of generating power thus leading to a corresponding reduction in the prices of utilities in the electricity supply industry”.

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