Abuja (AFP) – Nigerian officials were working Monday to prevent the “collapse” of the electric grid after they had to close down six power plants following a pipeline failure and “technical issues” at Shell gas wells.
Swathes of Africa’s most populous nation of 180 million plunged into darkness on Saturday night during a World Cup match between Nigeria and Croatia.
“Six thermal power generating stations are currently unable to generate electricity and have therefore been shut down,” the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) said in a statement.
“With a total loss of 1,087 Megawatts into the grid, the transmission system has become quite fragile and the TCN is working hard to avert a collapse of the system by engaging in load shedding.”
Electricity production has oscillated between 2,500 megawatts and 4,500 megawatts out of capacity of 7,000 megawatts. South Africa, which has a third of Nigeria’s population, produces 45,000 megawatts.
Lack of public lighting in some parts of the country created a fertile breeding ground for crime, pushing some citizens to take matters into their own hands.
Reversing the country’s crippling power deficit is seen as key to driving economic growth but has evaded successive governments because of mismanagement, incompetence and vested interests.