In Bid to Avoid Promotion Interview, Electricity Union Throws Nigeria Into Total Blackout
- Aug 18, 2022 2:07 pm GMT
Power sector workers yesterday made good their threat to embark on a nationwide strike, shutting down power stations countrywide and setting off another electricity grid collapse around
But after throwing the entire nation into a total blackout for several hours with its attendant loss of productivity which may have run into billions of naira, the workers suspended the industrial action by two weeks.
It came after a four-hour conciliation meeting between the federal government and the striking electricity workers in
The electricity workers under the joint auspices of the
Speaking with journalists after the meeting, NUEE, through its Secretary General,
He said they would pause the industrial action and wait for two weeks as agreed in the meeting for the government to address their grievances.
The President of SSAEC,
Also speaking, Ngige said that after exhaustive deliberations on the issues in dispute, they agreed to constitute a bipartite committee to look into the grievances of the electricity workers and report back in two weeks.
According to Ngige, the members of the bipartite committee include the Minister of State for Power,
He said the meeting afforded the parties the opportunity to thrash out all the issues in dispute, adding that his ministry has apprehended the dispute.
But earlier, several videos emanating from the workers' action showed the officials gleefully shutting down several transmission stations nationwide despite its security and economic implications and the authorities' cancellation of the proposed promotion exam.
The workers said they were protesting a directive by the board of the
Ajaero insisted that the directive was in contravention of the workers' conditions of service and career progression paths, adding that "it was unilaterally done without the relevant stakeholders".
The group also complained about the failure of the authorities to pay the entitlement of former staff of the defunct
The shutdown of the power assets triggered a national electricity grid crash, crumbling from over 4,000MW to 762MW and finally to zero generation at about
Information from the Independent System Operation (ISO), a section of TCN, power generation on the grid was 4,149.40MW as of
It deteriorated as of 12 noon, crashing to 1,246.40MW as three power plants went off, and by
Minister of State for Power,
Concerning the other issues relating to the Head of Service (HoS) on stigmatisation of the defunct PHCN staff and payment of entitlement of ex-PHCN staff by the market operator, Abdulaziz said the management had contacted the Minister of Power,
But in a response, the workers insisted that the protest would continue, faulting the authorities for not resolving the promotion issues for three years and stressing that memos addressed to the HoS' office had gone without even the courtesy of an acknowledgement.
But as the workers commenced the nationwide action yesterday, the Distribution Companies (Discos) announced in their various jurisdictions, the shutting down of operations, asking for understanding from their customers.
In the same vein, Ikeja Disco issued a notice saying the nationwide picketing affected most of its stations and disrupted power supply.
In a statement on Wednesday via its verified Twitter handle, @IkejaElectric, the Disco announced the shutdown of operations, urging customers to be patient as it awaits an amicable resolution by the relevant stakeholders.
"Due to the ongoing nationwide picketing of transmission stations by the NUEE, we are currently experiencing disruption of power supply as most stations within our network have been shut down," it stated.
In the regions, members of NUEE also withdrew their services. At the
In the morning, union officials had picketed the
Also, blackouts were recorded across the South-east, with the spokesperson of the
"'The industrial strike action embarked upon by the
"As a result of this development, all our feeders are out of supply and this has affected supply to our esteemed customers in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States.
"Consultations are ongoing among critical stakeholders in the power sector to address this issue and possibly restore supply," he said.
"There has been a system collapse at 15:01hrs, all parts of our network are completely out of power supply," he stated.
To drive home their point, the protesting workers had earlier blocked the entrance to the TCN, headquarters building in
Abah noted that though the workers were not happy that the nation had been left without electricity supply, the embarrassment should be on the federal government which allowed the matter to linger.
Meanwhile, the TCN, in a statement by its Manager, Public Affairs,
"Following the industrial dispute declared by the two in-house unions at the TCN, the national electric power grid has been shut down by union functionaries - even as unfettered effort was being made to resolve the issues upon which the action was called.
"The incident occurred at 15:01Hrs, today after several 330kV transmission lines and 33kV feeder-lines across the power system network had been switched off by the union members, resulting in generation-load imbalance and multiple voltage escalations at critical stations and substations.
"Regrettably, this is coming weeks after we had emerged from hectic grid management regime, precipitated by paucity of generation, which we grappled with for a couple of months," the TCN stated.
The TCN recalled that in tandem with the initiative of the
"In spite of this setback, we are set to restore the grid as quickly as possible. The ministries of power and labour & employment are currently meeting with the union officials in order to resolve the issues.
"The Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) appreciates the understanding of our customers - within and outside the country. Enduring mechanisms are being instituted to avert a situation of this kind, going forward," TCN concluded.
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