By Constance Athekame
The Nigerian Power Consumers Forum (NPCF) has blamed the recent grid collapse in the country on sabotage by hoodlums who may not mean well for the country.
Mr Michael Okoh, Convener of the NPCF, said this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.
He said the grid collapse was not due to the lack of capacity on the part of the company, adding that it was a case of sabotage by hoodlums, who may not mean well for the country.
”The fire incident at the Birnin Kebbi transmission substation switchyard is more of a sabotage on the national grid systems, ” he said.
According to him, power engineers who have over three decades of experience, believe that technically, there is no way two power transformers separated by a reasonable distance from each other will be engulfed by fire simultaneously.
He said that transformers have inbuilt system protection and the probability of a transformer ignition is quite low.
”However, saboteurs could devise any means to disrupt the flow of electricity by pulling out transformer components, ” he said.
According him, immediate enquiries into the incident, both at he 90 Mega Volt Ampree, (MVA) transformer on the 330KV line and the 60MVA transformer on the 132kV line experienced a fire incident simultaneously inspite of being apart, separated by a reasonable space.
”The issue of voltage or surge was ruled out as TCN has robust protection and isolation mechanisms, instead, only internal issues within the transformer can lead to such incidents.
“’This is not the first time critical national infrastructures have been sabotaged as cases abound everyday of oil theft rupturing pipelines.
”Hacking of power transmission towers of which over 20 of such cases were reported by TCN in the last 12 months,” he said.
Okoh said that just after the pronouncement on the efforts of TCN on grid stability, the power sector has recorded at least two system collapses in succession.
He said that the grid collapse was caused by a fire incident in the Birnin Kebbi transmission substation and line snap along the 330 Kilo Volt (kV) Jebba – Kainji transmission line.
He said that these incidents have caused nationwide outages which the NPCF believes is to bring the management of TCN into disrepute.
“’While the investigation is ongoing, all indications refer to sabotage on both transformers as they are not linked and operate on two voltage levels and transmission lines, ” he said.
Okoh said that Niger Republic was receiving bulk power from a 150MVA lower transformer in the Birnin Kebbi substation.
He said that this was because of the important role of Kebbi substation nationally and internationally, adding that it was properly fitted with all protection and safety devices.
”The NPCF strongly notes that there may be an external force acting against the nation’s transmission system.
”We believe that the government of the day will strive to identify and bring the saboteurs and perpetrators of this act to book, ”he said.
According to him, the forum noted that TCN has been maintaining its grid efficiently for 421 days and the grid is looped in some places.
”This is coming just some days after the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) stated that for over 400 days, the system has been relatively stable.
”Nigerians have seen the enormous work done by the current TCN management led by Mr Sule Abdulaziz. For instance, in the history of Nigeria, the TCN for the first time, took delivery of over 30 power transformers in 2022.
”And all were deployed to site for onward installation. The projects TCN are executing to improve access to bulk electricity covers all the six geopolitical zones too,” he further noted.
Okoh said that from independent assessment which started in 2022 and up to 2023 , the forum was able to confirm the various initiatives TCN deployed to stabilise the grid, including the use of Internet of Things (IoT).
”And the deployment of the stop gap system as a placeholder for a smart grid system, which is in the advanced stage of the procurement process.
”For a robust deployment of a full-scale state-of-the-art Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)/Energy Management System (EMS), ”he said.
Okoh said that NPCF, on behalf of Nigerian electricity consumers, urged TCN to continue on its trajectory of investing in the transmission networks especially in lines reconductoring,
”We implore them to proactively buffer other substations against further sabotage, ”he said.(NAN)