Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Blackout looms as Nigerian electricity workers begin strike Wednesday

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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Barring last-minute changes, Nigerian electricity workers under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, will commence an indefinite strike on Wednesday over pending labour issues with the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN.

A circular signed on Monday by the General Secretary of NUEE, Joe Ajaero, titled “Call for Action”, directed the Senior Assistant General Secretaries and Zonal Organising Secretaries to ensure total compliance.

The circular also directed the aggrieved workers to picket the Abuja national headquarters of TCN Tuesday.

DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the industrial action will plunge the country into a further electricity supply crisis.

On July 20, the national grid had collapsed, throwing many parts of the country into darkness.

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During the blackout, of all the distribution companies, only the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, recorded 40MW at that material time with others recording 0MW.

This is coming barely a month after the Senate had passed the Electricity Bill 2022, aimed at to scaling up efficient power generation, transmission and distribution capabilities of the companies.

Addressing the Senate plenary, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Gabriel Suswam, said the bill sought to among others, provide an Ideal legal and institutional framework to leverage on the modest gains of the privatisation phase of the electricity power sector in Nigeria.

He said that when signed into law, the bill would improve utilisation of generated power through increased investments in new technologies to enhance transmission and distribution of generated power to minimise aggregate value chain loses.

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According to the lawmaker, the piece of legislation will reinvigorate the institutional framework for the reform of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI, initiated and implemented by the Federal Government.

Mr Suswam disclosed that the provisions of the bill sought to promote policies and regulatory measures that would ensure the expansion of power transmission networks in Nigeria in order to address any imbalance in the existing transmission infrastructure.

He noted that the bill would stimulate policy and regulatory measures to scale up efficient power generation, transmission and distribution capabilities of the sector; as well as address technological limitations and outdated infrastructure that were responsible for value chain loses.

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