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Nationwide strike: Blackout as Labour union shuts down national grid

Electricity workers have shut down Nigeria’s National Grid following the midnight commencement of a strike action by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

According to data from the Independent System Operator, power generation, which was 2,805.59 megawatts at midnight, plummeted to just 28 MW by 6 a.m. on Monday, with only Ibom Power remaining operational on the grid.

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) reported that union members forcibly removed its workers from their posts. In a statement, Ndidi Mbah, TCN’s General Manager of Public Affairs, confirmed the shutdown:

“TCN hereby informs the general public that the Labour Union has shut down the national grid, resulting in a nationwide blackout. The shutdown occurred at about 2:19 a.m. on June 3, 2024.”

Mbah detailed the severity of the situation, explaining that at 1:15 a.m., operators at the Benin Transmission Operator under TCN’s Independent System Operations unit were driven out of the control room, with some staff members beaten and injured during the altercation. This disruption led to the complete shutdown of the Benin Area Control Centre.

Several other transmission substations, including Ganmo, Benin, Ayede, Olorunsogo, Akangba, and Osogbo, were also shut down by the labour union. Some transmission lines were opened, exacerbating the power outage.

On the generation side, the strike forced the shutdown of several power-generating units. The Jebba Generating Station had to shut down one unit, followed by three more due to high frequency and system instability, ultimately leading to the grid collapse at 2:19 a.m.

Despite these challenges, TCN initiated grid recovery efforts at 3:23 a.m. using the Shiroro Substation to supply electricity to the Katampe Transmission Substation. However, the labour union’s actions continue to hinder nationwide grid recovery.

“We will continue to make efforts to recover and stabilize the grid to enable the restoration of normal bulk transmission of electricity to distribution load centres nationwide,” Mbah added.

The ongoing strike highlights significant tensions within Nigeria’s energy sector and underscores the critical need for resolution to restore stability and power across the nation. Stay tuned for further updates on the situation.

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