LAGOS, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Electricity distribution companies in Nigeria reported a “total system collapse” on Thursday after a fire in a major transmission line led to widespread power outages in Africa’s largest economy, before power slowly began to return.
Adebayo Adelapo, Minister of Energy, said that the fire caused an explosion in a transmission line linking the Kainji and Juba power plants in north-central Niger state, which led to the network being disrupted.
“The fire has been completely put out and more than half of the communications are now operational and the rest will be fully restored in no time,” Adelapo said in a statement.
Data from the Transmission Corporation of Nigeria (TCN) showed that power generation fell to zero in the early hours of the morning but rose to 1,341 megawatts by 1400 GMT, still well below the daily average of 4,100 megawatts.
TCN did not respond to a request for comment.
Grid power is erratic in Nigeria, a major oil and gas producer, forcing households and businesses including oil companies and manufacturers to resort to diesel and gasoline generators.
“The cost of fueling the generators is draining our financial resources, and as an energy-reliant technology company, this is a heavy burden to bear,” said Dixion Polodeko, an executive at Bayelsa Tech Hub in the oil-producing state of South Africa. Bayelsa State, noting that President Bola Tinubu abolished fuel subsidies in May.
In Lagos, despite rolling power outages on an almost daily basis, some people were surprised by the nationwide power outage.
Lagos-based Eko Electricity Distribution Company, one of the largest companies, said the power grid had been restored.
The network collapsed at least four times in 2022, which authorities blamed on technical problems.
Nigeria has an installed capacity of 12,500 megawatts but produces about a quarter of that amount.
(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutoye in Lagos and Teve Owolabi in Yenagoa; Preparing by Mohammed for the Arabic Bulletin) Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter
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