Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has explained the reason why many parts of the country are experiencing blackouts, especially on Saturdays.

The agency, which has the sole responsibility of transmitting generated power, said on Sunday that there were shortages in gas supply which led to a significant reduction in power generation and distribution.

The shortages affected over half a dozen power generating facilities across the country.

TCN spokesperson Ndidi Mbah said a gas pipeline rupture was reported by the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) on June 15.

Shell Nigeria gas wells also developed a fault on June 16, causing a drop of 1,087 megawatts in national grid generation.

The situation has compelled distribution companies to embark on a “massive load-shedding nationwide’ in order to “maintain stability of the grid,” Ms Mbah said.

Power stations that have been shut down due to various faults include the Ihovbor, Azura Edo, Omotosho gas, Geregu gas, Olorunsogo gas, Sapele and the Egbin Power Station.

Egbin generates 60 megawatts on each of its units, losing a total of 211 megawatts, the official said. The facilities are scattered across the country.

Also, Afam VI power station was shut down to enable Shell resolve the damage to its gas wells and be back online.

The issue had been partially resolved and Shell was able to supply power to Afam VI, although at a low capacity for now.

Ms Mbah said efforts have intensified to avert a collapse of the system.

The TCN spokesperson said load-shedding is a critical way of ensuring that available generation is equitably allocated to distribution companies nationwide, to create a balance and avert grid instability.

Ms Mbah said there was “no collapse of the grid as reported in the news.”

She added that there was no total blackout on Saturday as it was earlier reported in some quarters.

Nigeria with a population of 180 million has continued to generate only a fraction of the electricity it needs, a situation experts have long identified as a major hindrance to economic development.

Some power distribution firms sent text messages offering apologies to customers for the massive power failure, which coincided with the first outing by the Nigerian national team at the ongoing World Cup in Russia.

The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) said it received less than 200 megawatts in power allocation on Saturday, a meagre quantity for its coverage area of Nasarawa, Kogi, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory.

The disruption comes six months after Nigeria suffered a total blackout due to a fire outbreak at a facility, a development that was acknowledged by Tunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing.