TCN confirms nationwide blackout as labour shuts down national grid

The TCN General Manager, Public Affairs, Ndidi Mbah, disclosed this in a statement Monday.

Nigerians have been faced with a total blackout as electricity workers shut down the National Grid in compliance with the joint directive of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to down tools on Monday over the new minimum wage.

The TCN General Manager, Public Affairs, Ndidi Mbah, disclosed this in a statement Monday.

Ms Mbah said the national grid shutdown occurred at about 2.19 a.m. on Monday.

TCN said workers were driven away from their duty posts while others were beaten and wounded at some power facilities. It added that all its efforts at grid recovery were being frustrated by the unionists.

“The Transmission Company of Nigeria hereby informs the general public that the Labour Union has shut down the national grid, resulting in blackout nationwide. The national grid shutdown occurred at about 2.19 am this morning, 3rd June 2024.

“At about 1:15 am this morning, the Benin Transmission Operator under the Independent System Operations unit of TCN reported that all operators were driven away from the control room and that staff that resisted were beaten while some were wounded in the course of forcing them out of the control room and without any form of control or supervision, the Benin Area Control Center was brought to zero.

Other transmission substations that were shut down, by the Labour Union include the Ganmo, Benin, Ayede, Olorunsogo, Akangba and Osogbo Transmission Substations. Some transmission lines were equally opened due to the ongoing activities of the labour union.

“On the power generating side, power generating units from different generating stations were forced to shut down some units of their generating plants, the Jebba Generating Station was forced to shut down one of its generating units while three others in the same substation subsequently shut down on very high frequency. The sudden forced load cuts led to high frequency and system instability, which eventually shut down the national grid at 2:19am

At about 3.23am, however, TCN commenced grid recovery, using the Shiroro Substation to attempt to feed the transmission lines supplying bulk electricity to the Katampe Transmission Substation. The situation is such that the labour Union is still obstructing grid recovery nationwide.

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

Nigeria’s labor unions started a nationwide strike on Monday amidst uncertainties. The unions announced the strike to pressure the government into agreeing on a new minimum wage for workers and reevaluating the recent electricity price hike for certain consumers.

A meeting held on Sunday between representatives of the federal government, the National Assembly leadership, and officials from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) regarding the proposed national minimum wage concluded without resolution. The meeting, which took place behind closed doors at the National Assembly complex in Abuja, began at 5:50 p.m. and ended at 8:45 p.m.

Before this, on Friday, the NLC and the TUC had declared an indefinite nationwide strike. They anticipate the participation of various other workers’ unions, including those representing doctors, university lecturers, airport workers, and electricity employees.

In a notice issued on Saturday concerning the indefinite nationwide strike, Emmanuel Ugboaja, the General Secretary of the NLC, urged all affiliated bodies to mobilize their members for full compliance with the directive for industrial action. Ugboaja stressed the necessity of a comprehensive closure of all workplaces, underscoring that the success of the strike relies on the collective determination and resolve of their members.