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[News] Electricity workers call off strike, businesses count losses

Published by on August 18th, 2022.


 

Businesses and other power consumers were thrown into darkness on Wednesday as the industrial action embarked upon by electricity workers, which lasted for almost one day, led to the total shutdown of the national power grid.

Power generation crashed fell below 4,000 megawatts as workers of the National Union of Electricity Employees went on strike to protest against a compulsory promotion interview for principal managers, unpaid entitlement, among other issues.

Although the Federal Government announced on Wednesday night that the union had halted the strike, it had earlier declared that the action by the electricity workers resulted in a collapse of the country’s grid.

“Following the industrial dispute declared by the two in-house unions at the Transmission Company of Nigeria, 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 government stated in a statement from its power transmission company.

It added, “The incident occurred at 15:01hours today (Wednesday) 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 a hectic grid management regime, precipitated by paucity of generation, which we grappled with for a couple of months.”

The PUNCH observed that the development resulted in blackout across the country, as virtually all power distribution companies confirmed this in various statements.

Eko Electricity Distribution Company, for instance, stated that at 3:01pm on Wednesday, the country recorded its 7th system collapse, which caused total blackout in Lagos State.

Other power distributors including Ikeja, Enugu, Benin, Ibadan, among others, also informed their customers of the power disruption.

The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc (EEDC) announced power supply disruption within the South-East due to the strike by electricity workers.

The distribution company disclosed this in a statement issued on Wednesday, through its Head, Corporate Communications, Emeka Ezeh, which was made available to our correspondent in Enugu.

“Following the industrial strike embarked upon by the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) power stations, operations across the franchise area of EEDC plc have been disrupted.

“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,” he said.

Ikeja DisCo, in its own public notice, said, “Dear esteemed customer, 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.”

The NUEE had on Monday threatened to picket the headquarters of TCN over unmet demands of its workers.

The union also stated that the Federal Government had failed to pay the entitlements of some former staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria despite an agreement reached with the union in December 2019.

In a circular entitled “Call to Action”, the General Secretary of NUEE, Joe Ajaero, directed members of the union to ensure total compliance, vowing to paralyse the operations of TCN nationwide over anti-masses activities.

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