National grid collapse throws Nigeria into darkness


  • It was caused by explosion after fire outbreak – Minister

  • Households, businesses suffer
  • Uba Group

Nigerians experienced a nationwide blackout on Thursday due to a major breakdown in the national grid system.

The early morning tragedy forced the levels of power generated in the country to fall to zero megawatts.

The collapse of the power grid mandated many households and businesses to use diesel and petrol generators.

At around 10:30am, power levels had risen from zero to 273MW, which was still well below the daily average of 4,100MW, data from the Transmission Company of Nigeria showed.

The critical infrastructure is managed by the TCN, headquartered in Osogbo, Osun State.

Several Distribution Companies across the nation confirmed the grid’s collapse during the early hours of Thursday, leaving most of their feeders inactive.

Thursday’s collapse was the most serious outage for a year in which the country’s grid collapsed at least four times in 2022, which the authorities blamed on technical problems.

A number of electricity distribution companies told customers on X, the social media platform formally known as Twitter that the most recent blackouts were a result of a “total system collapse”.

The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, said a transmission line connecting two power plants in Niger State suffered an explosion after a fire, thus tripping the grid.

“The fire has been fully arrested and over half of the connections are now up and the rest will be fully restored in no time.

“At 00:35Hrs this morning, a fire outbreak with an explosion sound was observed on Kainji/Jebba 330kV line 2 (Cct K2J) blue phase CVT & Blue phase line Isolator of Kainji/Jebba 330kV line1 was observed burning,” Adelabu said in a statement in the afternoon.

He further explained that the fire led to a sharp drop in the frequency of the national grid, from 50.29Hz to 49.67 Hz at 0:35:06Hrs, causing a significant generation loss in the Jebba power station, amounting to 356.63MW.

He continued, “At 00:41Hrs frequency dropped further from 49.37 Hz to 48.41 Hz resulting in system collapse of the grid. We are on top of the situation and speedy restoration is in progress.

“The fire has been fully arrested, and over half of the connections are now up, and the rest will be fully restored in no time.”

Adelabu expressed his appreciation to those who promptly responded and expressed concern through various channels, as well as the team of engineers who swiftly addressed the situation.

“My sincere appreciation to those who responded or expressed concern via different channels and the team of engineers for their prompt response to the situation and the work done so far.


“Let’s get the restoration work completed as soon as possible. The delay in the update was deliberate, so as not to cause panic and to also be able to update on the progress of remedial actions taken so far.

“This is to ensure economic and security saboteurs don’t take advantage of every situation reported,” the Minister explained.

The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC issued a statement, noting that a “total system collapse” occurred at 12:40 a.m. on Thursday.

The Head of Corporate Communications for EEDC, Emeka Ezeh, expressed, “This has resulted in the loss of supply currently being experienced across the network.”

Consequently, the distribution company reported that all its interface TCN stations had been deprived of supply.

As a result, they were unable to serve customers in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States.

EEDC further stated, “We are on standby, awaiting detailed information on the collapse and restoration of supply from the National Control Centre (NCC) in Osogbo.”

Also, Kano Electricity Distribution Company said, “We regret to inform you that the current power outage across our network is due to a system collapse from the national grid, which has resulted in our inability to distribute electricity to our esteemed customers.

“We are appealing to our valued customers to kindly bear with us as we monitor the situation and await power restoration from the national grid,” the company said.

The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company also reported the collapse.

“The management of AEDC wishes to inform its customers that the power outage currently being experienced is a result of a system failure from the national grid in the early hours of today, 14 September 2023.

“Be rest assured that we are working with the relevant stakeholders to restore power as soon as the grid is stabilized,” the company said.

The TCN finally opened up on the national grid that collapsed on Thursday afternoon, saying that its restoration had reached advanced stages.

According to a statement by the TCN, power supply is now available in the West, North Central, South, East, and a large portion of the Northern parts of the country.

The company in the statement disclosed that in the course of the grid restoration, the process initially suffered a setback, which TCN said does not amount to another collapse.

“In the course of any grid restoration process, challenges may be encountered. This happened today while the grid restoration was in progress, but it was promptly addressed,” the company stated.

The statement signed by the General Manager, Public Affairs of TCN, Ndidi Mbah reads:

“The Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, hereby notes that grid restoration nationwide is in progress and has reached advanced stages with power supply now available in the West, North Central, South, East, and a large portion of the Northern parts of the country.

“The power supply restoration is sequel to the total grid collapse, which occurred at 12.35am, this morning, causing outages nationwide, after over 421 days of consistent grid stability.

“In the course of the grid restoration, the process initially suffered a setback; this does not amount to another collapse. In the course of any grid restoration process, challenges may be encountered. This happened today while the grid restoration was in progress, but it was promptly addressed.

“It would be recalled that the last total system collapse recorded was on 20th July 2022, from then to the 13th of September, 2023, ( 421 days), the system had been stable in spite of the challenges posed by zero spinning reserve and lack of adequate System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) essential to a strong and stable grid, among others.

“TCN has been able to maintain 421 days of grid stability because it developed and deployed in- house stop gap measures and tools that it has continued to use to manage the nation’s grid, ensuring its stability.

“Meanwhile, the collapse which occurred after a fire incident on Kainji/Jebba 330kV line 2 is being investigated, with the view to forestalling future occurrence and invariably further strengthening the grid.

“The incident, TCN is determined to continue to do its best to ensure grid stability.”

The latest collapse came weeks after the TCN announced that the country’s power grid had maintained uninterrupted stability for over 400 consecutive days.

The TCN had in August said the Nigerian power grid had recorded an unparalleled period of stability in the history of the power sector, operating without any major disruptions or systems collapse for an impressive span of 400 consecutive days and counting.

“This milestone signifies a remarkable advancement in the nation’s efforts at strengthening its power infrastructure and ensuring a reliable and dependable electricity supply to distribution load centres for onward distribution to electricity customers nationwide,” the company said in a statement.

In recent years, the power sector has experienced many broad challenges related to electricity policy enforcement, regulatory uncertainty, gas supply, transmission system constraints, and major power sector planning shortfalls.

In 2022 alone, the country’s national grid collapsed eight times.

The nation remains in anticipation of the resolution of this widespread power outage.