FG sets up panel to investigate power system collapse

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Prof-Chinelo-Nebo-300x159In the last five months, Nigeria has recorded more than 15 power system collapses, the Federal Government has said.

In a bid to address the problem, the government on Monday inaugurated a 13-member Technical Investigative Panel on System Collapse.

The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, ordered the panel to complete the assignment within two weeks, stressing that the incessant collapse of electricity infrastructure across the country was becoming worrisome.

He said, “The high rate of system collapses in recent time, which has given rise to more than 15 collapses in the last five months, calls for a critical look.

“The technical investigative panel is, therefore, being constituted to investigate the causes of these collapses and proffer solutions aimed at forestalling future occurrences. Though a technical investigative panel, it is expected that it will also address human lapses where found.”

The terms of reference for the panel, Nebo said, included the determination of the immediate and remote causes of system collapses and review of all the collapses that had occurred from January to date.

Others are re-evaluation of the performance and effectiveness of the power grid’s protection system in the period under review; and recommend measures to further strengthen the protection mechanism, as well as to consider any system collapse related issues.

“The panel has two weeks to complete its assignment,” Nebo added.

The minister urged the panel to carry out its assignment without fear or favour in order to get to the root of the problems in the power sector.

“This panel is not going to be like most others, but must work round the clock and provide answers and solutions within two weeks. No excuses will be tolerated, please,” the minister said.

Nebo, however, explained that the radial nature of the nation’s grid system and the failure to build new infrastructure over the years, coupled with the lack of adequate operation and maintenance network, among others, had contributed to the weakness of Nigeria’s transmission network.

It had been reported last week that between mid-May and this month, four states suffered varying degrees of electricity system collapse, leading to either partial or total blackout in the affected communities.

The states are Bayelsa, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara. Niamey in Niger Republic was also affected during the period under review.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the panel, Mr. Fatai Olapade, said system collapses could be an act of God or man-made.

He said whirlwinds, rainstorms and people who were not happy with the developments in the sector could be causes of the incessant collapses.

“Power generation, distribution and transmission companies are under-funded and all these could be factors, and those are some of the areas we will look into before the man-made problems. However, we cannot start giving reasons now for the system collapses because we will do our best,” Olapade said.

Information from Punch was used in this report.