By Aaron Ossai
The House of Representatives has mandated its standing Committee on Power to conduct investigation into the recurring National Grid collapse.
It would be recalled that the National Grid had witnessed total collapse seven times this year which ended up throwing the whole into darkness.
Adopting a motion on urgent national importance moved by Hon. Sani Bala, the House noted that the probe has become necessary in order to address the multiple and dire consequences associated with power outages nationwide occasioned by the outages.
The Committee was also mandated to investigate the capacity or not of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN to address the ugly trend in order to forestall future occurrences and protect Nigeria’s already fragile socio-economic environment.
Leading debate on general principles of the motion, its sponsor, Hon. Sani Bala expressed concern that since 2013 when the privatization of the power sector took place, the country has witnessed over a hundred national grid collapses, a challenge which according to him, experts and operators said would linger for a long time if not addressed.
He regretted that 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 lawmaker equally expressed concern that 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.
Speaking further, he said that 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.
Hon. Bala said that 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.
He noted that available statistics from research show that if the power generated is adequately wheeled and transmitted for distribution to consumers, there will be a 30% reduction in the cost of generating power thus leading to a corresponding reduction in the prices of utilities in the electricity supply industry.
At the end of a robust debate on the general principles of the motion, majority of members at plenary unanimously adopted its prayer.