Nigeria’s electricity supply slumps, blackout worsens as power sector workers strike

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ABUJA, Aug 17 – Workers at the Transmission Company of Nigeria went on strike on Wednesday over what they said were unfair conditions of service, their union said, disrupting power supplies across the country.

In a notice to members seen by Reuters, National Union of Electricity Employees said it was protesting against discriminatory promotion procedures at the state-owned transmission company and unfair labour practices in the power sector, among other grievances.

Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) employs 3,800 people and had said in a letter to the union on Tuesday that it was resolving the grievances together with the minister in charge of power. It urged workers not to strike.

The grid capacity had dropped to zero by 5:00 p.m. (1600 GMT) from 4,100 MW early on Wednesday, according to TCN.

Lagos-based Ikeja Electric, the largest distribution company and one of 11 in the country said “we are currently experiencing disruption of power supply as most stations within our network have been shut down.”

Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, which supplies power to five states, also said “all our feeders are out of supply and this has affected supply to our esteemed customers.”

On Tuesday, Nigeria’s national grid had a peak supply of 4,800 MW, the highest in many months but still far below what the country of 200 million people needs.

A majority of businesses and homes rely on diesel and petrol-powered generators while many more go without electricity.

Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Editing by MacDonald Dzirutwe and David Evans