Respite came the way of many electricity consumers as supply was restored to many areas across the country overnight following the suspension for two weeks, the strike action embarked upon by the National Union Electricity Employees (NUEE).
The supplies were restored in stages with many places having theirs restored between 12 midnight last night to 5 am this morning.
The union’s action which threw the country into total darkness was called off yesterday evening after a three hours deliberation between the union and the Federal Government.
The union in a statement said they called off the strike after a meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige on Wednesday.
“The Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has apprehended the strike embarked upon by the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) following an emergency meeting between the union, government, and other stakeholders, at the instance of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.
Dr Ngige set up a tripartite committee to look into the grievances of electricity workers towards addressing them. At the end of the meeting, the Secretary General of NUEE, Joe Ajaero, assured the Minister that all necessary steps would be taken to restore the supply of electricity,” the union said
Unfortunately yesterday, in the midst of the strike the industry experienced grid collapse which may have been caused by an imbalance in the system because of the strike action.
This has further compounded the already bad supply situation.
The TCN General Manager, Public Affairs, Ndidi Mbah, in a press statement said the incident occurred at 15:01Hrs, on 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 hectic grid management regime, precipitated by paucity of generation, which we grappled with for a couple of months.”
“It would be recalled, in tandem with the initiative of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on Partial Activation of Contracts – coupled with the stream of interventions by the Ministry of Power and other stakeholders in the Value Chain – grid generation (at Peak) had reached 4,830.69MW as at yesterday, the 16th of August, 2022.”
“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 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.”
NUEE had on Tuesday started the strike action by picketing the headquarters of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to press home their demands for the implementation of yet-to-be-honoured agreements between it and the management of the company.
They complained about the alleged failure of the Federal Government to pay the entitlement of former staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in December 2019.
The aggrieved workers under the aegis of the national union of electricity employees NUEE said this is a prelude to an indefinite strike action expected to commence on August 17.
In a circular entitled “call to action”, the general secretary of NUEE, Joe Ajaero, had directed them to ensure total compliance, vowing to paralyse operations of TCN nationwide over anti-masses activities.
The union had promised to escalate its action the following day which was Wednesday by shutting down all the transmission stations in the country, thereby plunging the nation into total darkness. This worsens the nation’s electricity supply crisis.
To avert the strike, the Federal Government through the minister of state for Power Goddy Jedy-Agba made a passionate appeal to the union and demanded they suspend the strike action as he promised he would get back to the union in two weeks
.A letter signed by the Minister of State for Power and addressed to the General Secretary of NUEE said, “The Ministry of Power takes cognisance of your complaints therein and is committed to offering solutions that will be acceptable to all parties concerned.
“May we appeal to your great Union to allow us two weeks from the date of this letter to address the issues and come up with proposals towards acceptable resolution of all issues”